Electoral Reform via Ballot Initiatives: Redistricting, Voter Registration, and Voter Rights in Michigan

October 8, 2018 1:12:00
Kaltura Video

John Chamberlin, Nancy Wang, Sharon Dolente, Christopher Thomas, and Richard McLellan look at Proposal 2 and Proposal 3.


I'm Michael Barr I'm the Joan and
Sanford Weill Dean of the Gerald R Ford

School of Public Policy it is my great
honor and pleasure to be with you this

afternoon and to welcome you to the Ford
school for this really fantastic

conversation today's policy talks at the
Ford school event is hosted by the

Center for local state and urban policy
known as close-up welcome as well to our

online viewers and our thanks to Detroit
Public Television WTBS for their

partnership in making today's event
available to voters throughout the state

of Michigan our state faces a big day in
just under a month among the important

issues Michigan voters will decide on
November 6th our two key ballot

initiatives one proposal addresses who
essentially draws and how our

congressional districts are drawn and
another one would amend the state

constitution around voting eligibility
and other requirements to help us better

understand the pros and the cons of
these proposals Ford school emeritus

professor John Chamberlin has assembled
today's expert panel like you just to

start by helping me thank John for
making this happen

full bios for our speakers are in your
printed program and John is going to say

a bit more about each one of them in
just a moment so please just join me for

now in welcoming Nancy Wang Sharon

Richard McClelland and Christopher
Thomas we're gonna follow our usual Ford

school format after John and the
panelists do their work together we're

going to open it up to the audience and
the way you ask questions is by writing

your questions on a note card there'll
be a staff member coming around to pick

them up they'll bring them to the front
and we have a wonderful student team

who's going to sort through them and
make sure that they get asked here to

this terrific panel I'm closed up
program manager Tom Ivanko is going to

help the Ford School students do that if
you are watching or listening online you

can also send your questions in via
twitter with the hashtag policytalks

with that let me turn things over to
John and ask him to come up to the

podium and really look forward to the
event we're gonna have today thank you

very much

Thank You Dean bar and welcome to our
audience here in Annenberg auditorium it

to those of you watching the live
streams of today's event either on

Detroit Public TV or on the Ford school
website before we begin I'd like to

acknowledge and thank supporters and
sponsors of today's policy talks at the

Ford school the Center for local state
and urban policy in the Ford school the

department of political science at the
College of LSN a the U of M Alumni

Association the OEM student group we
listen and the Ford school student group

the domestic policy Corps and the League
of Women Voters of the Ann Arbor area

today's panel is entitled electoral
reform by a ballot initiatives as most

of you already know citizens of Michigan
can place before voters proposed

amendments to the Michigan Constitution
to do so they must gather at least

favored house discussing two such

proposals that will appear on the
November 6 ballot proposal to will if

approved by voters amend the
Constitution to provide for an

independent redistricting commission
that will be responsible for drawing new

congressional and state legislative
districts following each decennial

census proposal 3 will if approved by
voters amend the Constitution to make

voter registration and voting easier for
citizens including automatic and

election day registration no reason
absentee ballots and the option of

straight ticket voting your program
contains the ballot wording for each of

these proposals in addition there are
several handouts that provide additional

information that was available as you
came in and now the requisite request

that you've checked your cell phones and
turn them off so that we can proceed

uninterrupted by phone calls I'd now
like to introduce our panelists to my

direct left is Richard McClelland a
graduate of Michigan State and Michigan

law school who's practiced law in
Michigan for nearly 50 years

or maybe 50 years in a little bit 50
here his circuit advisory capacities to

mission government Michigan governor's
Milliken angler and Schneider and his

legal practices included extensive
representation of political candidates

political action committees ballot
question campaigns super PACs and 401 C

reasons for believing that proposal 2 is

not good for Michigan and also offers
some comments about proposal 3 next to

him is Nancy Wang the board chair for
voters not politicians the group that

spearheaded the drive to place proposal

Nancy graduated from the college of
engineering at U of M and the Michigan

law school practice environmental law
and she's going to argue in favor of

proposal 2 next to her is Sharon delante
the voting rights strategist for the

ACLU of Michigan one of the lead
partners in the promote the vote drive

that was backed by more than a dozen
organizations and that led to proposal

three being on the ballot sherrod is a
graduate of the Ford school and the

Michigan law school and will argue in
favor of proposal 3 and on the far end

Christopher Thomas is the former
elections director the state of Michigan

a post he held for 36 years he graduated
from MSU and the Thomas Cooley School of

Law he was twice elected president of
the National Association of state

election directors and in 2012 received
that Association's Distinguished Service

Award in 2013 he was appointed by perfet
President Barack Obama to the

Presidential Commission on election
administration Chris will offer comments

on both of these proposals that we're
talking about today now that you know a

bit more about today's panelists let's
begin with Nancy Wang thank you so much

before we begin I'd like to just take a
quick survey to see how many people in

the audience know have heard about
voters not politicians before today I

see a lot of familiar faces okay great
I just like to thank the Ford school and

close up for this opportunity our
research shows that

our biggest challenge now 29 days before
Election Day is not the policy but

rather just people knowing about it so I
really really welcome and appreciate

this opportunity to talk about proposal
to as John mentioned I am the board

chair of voters not politicians we are a
group of ordinary citizens who got

together and responded to a Facebook
post that our founder Katie Fahey put up

in November of 2016 so I've been
volunteering I and 4,000 other

Michiganders have been volunteering for
voters not politicians now and I'm still

a volunteer what we wanted to do was we
wanted to get together we knew that

gerrymandering was a huge problem in
Michigan it's one of the worst

gerrymandered states in the country and
we wanted to find a non partisan

solution that would work for voters not
politicians hence our name and you might

have heard a little bit about our
activities when we were out collecting

petition signatures we were able to
collect 428 thousand signatures in just

over a hundred days from all 83 counties
and it was all done by volunteers which

is incredible but also it was out of
necessity because we are completely

grassroots and self-funded and so but it
worked out really well and now we have a

proposal on the ballot

so the problem I'll start with the

like I said Michigan is one of the top
three most gerrymandered states in the

country and it's not a group that we
want to you know be a part of you guys

might have heard of Gil V Whitford which
went up to the US Supreme Court this

past term that is a case that challenged

district maps on the basis of partisan
bias Michigan's maps are actually more

biased than Wisconsin's
and the the process of how it works here

in Michigan is that our legislatures the
state legislature gets to draw its own

maps for its own election district so
you know the state reps and state

senators they get to draw the maps for
their own districts as well as the

congressional districts obviously that's
a huge conflict of interest if they draw

the maps one way they can basically
guarantee that the district will be a

safe Republican or a safe democratic
district and the reason they can do that

is because of the the vast amount of
data that's available today you know

you're not just your voting history but
your income and even you know Facebook

and all of that is available as well as
really sophisticated computer programs

and really fast computers that can draw
you know tens of thousands of maps in

the space of a minute and so what what
the legislature has been doing and you

don't have to take my word for it I'm
really appreciative of the the media

actually in the state's been covering
gerrymandering Michigan really really

well and so for example Bridge magazine
has put out a bunch of articles that

have really gone in depth and and and
what you know examining what the problem

is and I've asked the Ford school to
attach one of their articles as part of

this packet that's available to you and
you know there's what the evidence shows

there's emails there's witness testimony
now because the League of Women Voters

is a plaintiff in a case and they're
challenging Michigan's maps just like

that Wisconsin case and they've
uncovered all these emails that show

exactly you know why Michigan's maps are
so skewed and it's because the

Republican Party which happens to be in
power right now and they control the map

drawing process in 2011 they gave a
million dollars to a group that has no

staff has no offices just a Pio box that
group paid a consultants to sit in a

dark you know in a
I know about dark but to sit in secret

and draw maps that favor the Republican
Party as much as possible and there's

emails that say okay you know this is
great we have a strong 9 to 5 result and

that'll endure from 2012 and beyond 9 to

Republican current congressional
representatives so we in Michigan have

send to DC nine of them are Republican

and five of them are Democrat and this
is despite the fact that in 2012 2014

and 2016 in the federal races that
Republicans candidates actually won less

than 50 percent of the vote from
Michigan voters so why this matters it

matters because the politicians are
picking their voters not the other way

around these maps are so they're drawn
so well I guess you could say that it

enshrines a you know it embeds a party
advantage again despite election

outcomes so there's nothing that you
know there's nothing the voters can do

so that's something in an argument that
we hear a lot well you know to the

victors go the spoils and if people
really cared then they would just vote

these politicians out and that is
exactly the problem because these maps

are so gerrymandered we can't vote the
politicians out you know you're hearing

things about a blue wave coming maybe in

one in a million year maybe event for 4
million I don't know a large large

portion of the electorate to shift
parties for for these politicians to be

unseated so what we see in elections is
we see you know a lot of races go

uncontested right or maybe you know the
primaries are that's the race that that

that matter
we have politicians who are

unaccountable to us no seats change
hands between the parties and again all

of this is very well documented so
voters not politicians proposal - we

seek to take the power of redistricting
out of the politicians hands and put it

into the voters hands this is not a new
idea even in Michigan so right now in

our 1963 Constitution there is an there
is a independent Redistricting

Commission that's written and it
actually operated for three

redistricting cycles it unfortunately it
was ruled unconstitutional because it

this is kind of getting a little bit
into the weeds but it was allowed to

draw districts that had different
numbers of people in it and the Federal

Constitution requires that you have
districts that have equal population so

that's the reason that that Commission
no longer operates it's been ruled

unconstitutional so what we would do
actually is we would take away those

constitutional infirmities we would
re-establish an independent

Redistricting citizens Commission in
Michigan to draw the district lines so

what we are the proposal and I encourage
everyone to please you know if you have

any questions there are a lot of
volunteers actually from bottom photos

not equalities right in the audience and
they'll be happy happy to answer them me

as well but the proposal on what it does
is it takes the fundamental problem with

politicians drawing their own lines out
so politicians you can put safeguards in

there but it's it's the fox guarding the
hen house right it's it's it's too much

at stake their own livelihoods at stake
their own careers and the their parties

that that hinge on whether they make the
decision to draw this district you know

around this community or if they break
that into 40 parts so that they can get

for you know really safe districts and
so what this

Mazal does is it takes the politicians
out of the redistricting business again

framers of our 1963 Constitution
recognize that this is the better way to

go that Commission was also citizens
Commission six other states have

citizens Commission's are operating
already and what the research shows is

that unsurprisingly Commission drawn
districts are more fair they're more

impartial and a hallmark of our proposal
is that everything would be transparent

so everything the Commission does from
the selection process how they're

selected the names in the Hat who got
removed all of that would be made public

all the deliberations of the Commission
would be would be public they could only

meet they would only be able to do
business and open meetings there there

you know the maps that they seek to
adopt they'd have to go around the state

and have ten at least ten public
hearings to show the public you know

what they're considering and to get
input from the public and they have to

accept also you know maps that are drawn
by the public and and they would get

public testimony about okay you know do
these communities do these districts

actually make sense or not do they are
these actual communities in the real

world as opposed to you know politically
expedient ones like I said these

Commission's are already operating in
other states and they've been shown to

be more fair that means you know one
party doesn't get an advantage just

because they got to draw the maps the
number of seats that a party gets more

accurately kind of drives with the
number of votes they got all right is

it's it's it just makes common sense the
just the races are more competitive so

they're actually you know new candidates
that get into the into the races there

are fewer uncontested races
and they're more responsive so seats

actually do change hands with a change
in in the vote in voter sentiment and

that's exactly what we are seeking to
have again here in Michigan and so I

want to take I have like one minute
unfortunately but I wanted to kind of

maybe address some of the more common
arguments that we hear against the

proposal number one that it's a bunch of
amateurs you know and this is like a

really technical process in fact the
legislators right now like I said you

know the evidence just shows that they
outsource and they and there's a one

quote in in a bridge article as well we
outsource everything and then they

outsource redistricting as well to
experts and consultants and and that

would that would be the same process
that this commission would have

available to it so we guaranteed them a
budget and they could hire their experts

to advise them and the big difference of
course like I said before is that it

would all be transparent you would know
who they hired and what maps they were

considering and why they rejected ones
and then adopted other ones thank you I

could talk all day happy to but
unfortunately we have time limits Thank

You Nancy now turn to Sharon delante who
will talk about proposal three hi

everyone thank you so much for welcoming
me back to the Ford school yes I am the

alumni on the panel here what I went
here we did not have this beautiful room

or this beautiful building so I
appreciate very much being welcome back

to enjoy the fruits of what has come
after I graduated and I also just want

to before I start I think as an alumni
and also for the students in the room I

see lots of students you know I just
want to give you a second for how did I

get here right like why I'm the voting
rights strategist at the ACLU of

Michigan and I just you know want to
share for a minute like how does that

come to be and any
sir as I spent a lot of time protecting

voters on election day I I spent a lot
of time volunteering in different

programs that seek to address challenges
that voters have on Election Day I did

that going back to the time that I
graduated actually from here and was

waiting for my bio results and I've done
it in every election primary

presidential midterm elections and so
what that means is I hear a lot of noise

and chaos of what happens on election
day right I hear all the challenges well

as many as I can possibly answer the
phone of the challenges that voters are

facing when they go to cast their ballot
here in Michigan and so that really

became the passion that led to me just
really spending all of my time now at

the ACLU working on voting rights so I'm
here to talk about proposal 3 otherwise

known as promote the vote we needed to
have catchy names because you know

proposal 3 proposal 2 it's not quite as
exciting as these awesome names we've

come up with so so so in my lifetime
which is not necessary a plenty of folks

on the panel who can talk outside of the
scope of my lifetime voting rates and

access to the ballot was a fundamental
right that there you know while people

could disagree perhaps to some degree
about the mechanics there was this

general consensus that people should be
able to access the ballot that that we

you know once we we passed the Voting
Rights Act and we moved out of the civil

rights era there was a there was more of
a frame at least in my lifetime that

people should be able to vote barriers
to voting were on American right you

shouldn't be erecting barriers to people
being able to make their voices heard

that the core of our democracy is
citizens being able to make their voices

heard on election day and so we had you
know a series of of laws that were

adopted nationally by Republicans and
Democrats signed by you know legends

signed by Democratic presidents and in
in in these instances they expanded

access to the bill so the things that
I'm thinking of are the national voting

and voter registration act in 1993
significantly increases access to voter

registration in 2002 we have the help
America Vote act adopted nationally

again significantly addressing access
issues ensuring that individuals are

never turned away at the at the ballot
box that that is the direct quote of the

Sixth Circuit interpreting a law under
the help America Vote Act no citizen

should be turned away well you remember
my story about how what I got here and

how I've been listening to the stories
of voters voters are turned away in

every single election voters are turned
away right here in Ann Arbor voters are

turned away in the primary every
election I talked to voters who were

turned away at the ballot box
sometimes I'm able to give them advice

and send them back because it's before 8
o'clock and and they're able to resolve

that situation but not always just in
the primary I have individuals who were

disenfranchised in violation of state
and federal law so that concerns me

every single if there's even one voter
that concerns me that's how passionate I

am about it so so so so we have this non
partisan history of embracing access and

then one of the things that you may not
know is that Michigan in part due to

this gentleman sitting next to me but
others that I'll talk about was a

pivotal state in expanding access so I
spoke about the National Voter

Registration Act the National Voter
Registration Act is the is the law that

nationally adopted the motor voter
program that's the thing that everybody

who's my age or younger is familiar with
when you go to get your driver's license

you're able to get registered well as
others on the panel can definitely tell

you it didn't used to be so easy you had
to take the onus on yourself to show up

at a different elected officials or
appointed officials office and fill out

a form it used to be much harder well
guess where that amazing innovation that

registered millions and millions and
millions I see heads shaking nope

the extraordinary impact of that
innovation it started right here in

Michigan so under the then Secretary of
State Richard Austin and the gentleman

to my left who will have an opportunity
to talk more about this Michigan was the

first day to adopt this innovation and
it wasn't the only innovation that

Michigan led on the second law that I
mentioned was the help America Vote Act

it has a very critical provision where
it required states to have a statewide

voter registration database so when you
move around the state you can easily

move your registration with you again an
access a way to increase access a way to

make sure that individuals are staying
registered so they're never silenced at

the ballot box that also was a national
innovation that was adopted that began

here in Michigan so Michigan has this
extraordinary history as an innovator in

so many areas technology the automobile
industry but also in voting but

unfortunately at some point that history
came to a grinding halt and so sadly

today Michigan and Mississippi are the
only states that have failed to adopt

any recent reforms that increase access
to the ballot I just want you to I want

to say that one more time
Michigan and Mississippi are the only

states in the country that have failed
to adopt recent reforms to increase

access to the ballot what do I mean by
that name your favorite reform early

voting no reason absentee voting
pre-registration election day

registration same-day registration
online voter registration take your pick

we're the only it's us and Mississippi
and so what does that tell me

that tells me actually that voting
rights is still a very non partisan

issue why because all the states in the
country are finding ways to increase

access and I've been saying that from
day one on proposal three why is that

because the citizens of this state and
the rest of the country believe that

voting access is a nonpartisan issue
that access isn't is without question

something that citizens who are eligible
and meet the requirements of eligibility

in our state and every other state
should be able to cast their ballot

elected officials may wrangle about it
they may argue about it but that's not

how the citizens feel and and so
proposal three comes out of that very

shocking statistic it comes out of that
very shocking reality that Michigan has

fallen behind I'm often asked why I'm
not an elected official in the state

legislature or the state Senate I'm not
the governor I can't answer that

question I think my time is better
served trying to solve the problem so

proposal three I have a half sheet if
you want it here you can get a full

summary of it
the proposal three what would would

adopt a number of amendments to our
Constitution they're all in one section

but a number of policies would be
enshrined in the Constitution that would

increase access and also increase
security because citizens again across

the political spectrum in a non-partisan
way are also concerned about security

and there are things that Michigan can
and should be doing so the first thing

that promote the vote does proposal
three does is protect the right to a

secret ballot there is language in the
Constitution right now regarding a

secret ballot but it entrusts the
legislature with the authority to

protect that I don't know about you all
but I would rather have my own right to

a secret ballot and not leave that to
the legislature so proposal three would

address that the second thing is
proposal three would enshrine in the

Constitution the requirement that
military and overseas voters be sent to

ballot forty-five days before this is
mirroring obligations that are in state

or federal law but it's enshrining that
I'm in our Constitution and and

therefore it could not be eliminated by
future acts of the legislature the next

thing is automatic voter registration
allowing citizens to be automatically

registered unless they refuse this is
still America you can still choose to

say no but if you don't say no your
automatical you're automatically

registered to vote at the Secretary of
State's office this is something that is

the newest reform of the of the access
to the ballot register reforms that have

come online but already in just a few
short years fourteen states have adopted

automatic voter
just raishin and they're seeing really

significant impacts they're seeing
significant impacts because individuals

who are registered and are on the rolls
are then communicated with by partisan

campaigns or non partisan campaigns and
so they start to be a part of the

Democratic little D Civic infrastructure
and they are and then they they are not

voting necessarily at the same rate that
all citizens are voting but they are

voting in significant numbers and so
those individuals would not have gotten

registered if there hadn't been
automatic voter registration so I'll

quickly move through the other
components it would Michigan is one of

only about a dozen states that has a
voter registration deadline tomorrow and

everybody's anybody unregistered in the
room come see me we can handle that ask

everybody you know between here and
bedtime tonight and all day tomorrow

make sure they're all registered we have
a 30-day voter registration deadline

it's the longest allowed by federal law
most states don't have a deadline that

long anymore and a number of states have
gone to the point of allowing citizens

to register up to an including Election
Day and proposal three would allow that

but in a secure way you'd have to
provide proof of residency and you'd

have to appear in person before an
election official this is not new people

the three states that first created
adapted election day voter registration

have had it for 40 years I think we can
do it I think we can just a few more no

reason absentee voting which thank you
to the gentleman next to me

Michigan has been trying to get that
since 1990

here we are 28 years later thank
proposal 3 will finally deliver it to

you it's it's a very non partisan reform

absentee voting or early voting so you
as a citizen can choose to vote prior to

Election Day if that's what's most
convenient for you imagine that make it

convenient for you to vote and therefore
you'll make your voice heard the last

two components are straight ticket
voting so the citizens of Michigan have

for 125 years 127 I think very sadly
will not be on the available this year

the citizens have twice had it taken
away by the legislature and they have

twice put it back in here's the dirty
little secret straight party voting is

not a partisan thing individuals in
Detroit use it and primarily vote

Democratic but so do into significant
numbers of individuals in Ottawa County

and they significantly vote Republican
it's an efficiency that makes it easier

for citizens to cast their ballot in an
efficient manner and the last one and

perhaps one of the most important ones I
think is an audit Michigan has had

something that is called an audit but
it's not actually checking that how

we're how we're tabulating the ballots
is also how they were meant to be

tabulated meaning when you put when you
put your ballots into the machine that

what's coming out as the counts of the
votes is actually being checked and

audited and so proposal three would
implement that as well and so again it's

this perfect marriage that is being
supported by over 70% of voters in

recent polls of increasing access and
having a some more secure election

system because we can have both and we
deserve to have both

thank you sure now having heard the
arguments in favor of the two ballad

reversals we turn to Richard McClellan
who will offer some views on the other

side picture I've been asked to talk
about why the vnp

would not be a good state policy so I'm
gonna follow strictly that instruction

is a complicated proposal and then I was
asked he had a couple of minutes on the

promote the vote proposal we just heard

let me just a bigger picture that is not
part of this but I something I've been

thinking about because I've been active
in this area for 50 years there seems to

be a trend to abandon kind of the old
traditional forms of democracy

representative government you get your
representatives they manage the

government for you
you decide a couple years later why do

you want them in there we we had Tom
we've always had in Michigan it's a good

reason the initiative and referendum the
people have always referred to

themselves the ability to this but it
was a very rare occurrence but as we

have gotten fed up with our legislature
and possibly because of gerrymander we

more and more are moving toward these
other non-traditional methods of running

the government giving people a package
deal and a vote up or vote down and you

don't have an opportunity to have the
process that I went through for 30 years

in the legislature until term limits
came along they used to spend months on

the election code and the election

committee was bipartisan they'd fight
over things but they really got into it

you don't see that anymore legislature
gets a bill in front of them they got

the votes they move it out so the system
has changed and the voters response to

it has changed this voters not
politicians is a as an example of that

if voters not by there's a grab bag of
good and bad provisions I don't

anybody's suggested it's it's all bad
in fact several of them are either

existing law or would be in anybody's
fair system respecting existing

boundaries although there are some
people that believe those are racist and

we should not be recognizing existing
county boundaries that were set up a

hundred years ago but in general that's
accepted minimizing the variance between

populations something that the Supreme
Court decided 3040 years ago of the

one-person one-vote now they're fighting
over whether one-person one-vote who the

persons are the only eligible voters in
a district or all the persons in the

Spiritist district I think it's all the
purses the census counts everybody

prisoners illegal aliens children so
that's what I think it should be but it

does get fought over it's not in this
proposal it accepts certain things

contiguous districts gerrymandering is
an art and your if if we didn't have

continuous dick districts we'd have a
piece of Democrats in the U P attached

to a piece and bass City to create a
dissertation or the other way around so

those are there they are decent
establishing a timeline and a procedure

is good government but here's what I
oppose about this it is this what I call

it I was worried about saying it a Rube
Goldberg structure very complicated and

and and it they keep talking about
nonpartisan nonpartisan no politicians

well the Commission is selected by a
partisan elected Secretary of State she

is to generate a list of 10,000 voters
randomly invited by her or him I guess

there's only two there are two women
running to apply and then SOS I'm going

to say randomly its selects from these
pools Democrats Republicans and self

identifying as being unaffiliated
doesn't mean they're not partisan it

means they're not affiliated it doesn't
mean they're independent they can be

very strong partisan and probably will
be just as long and they can technically

show they are unaffiliated so I
guarantee you there will be an effort

over the years to make sure each party
has its own list of unaffiliated people

that will be in the pools the biggest
proposal that I oppose in this is this

term communities of interest it to be
protected I gather it's used in other

states but I am at kind of the old

political districts represent people in
a particular geographic district now we

we shifted away from that a few decades
ago because of the racial issue and we

now that is a community of interest
that is particularly well protected and

if you watch the process it's been used
by both parties it's used because of the

the way people live there are more
minority voters in urban areas you can

as they say pack em and stack em you can
squeeze more minority districts into

some of these bigger urban areas and
disadvantage maybe a Democrats that

aren't the right color from this and it
goes the other way they go back and

forth who they cut deals with has been
amazing if you read the history of it so

once we get communities of interest and
to me this is largely a result of the

trend over the last couple you know
Reese not not right away but a few times

that the Democratic Party no longer
represents issues it represents

communities and interest if you talk to
people to go to their convention it's

all about which caucus you good are you
and the urban caucus are you in the gay

caucus are you in the whether it's it's
much more we're how the parties see

themselves and they see themselves as a
cluster of these groups that all have to

be accommodated and I would say there's
a community of interest in most of the

issues but but I don't think that's a
good idea and and so the the the

Commission has to defend these districts
you know through maps and statistics and

so on in the proposal but how are they
going to disclose who the communities of

interest are that it has favored in this
plan and who were the other communities

of districts that are going to be
disfavored they never answer that and

I'm Nancy's taking notes maybe she'll

but I don't to me as a lawyer
and somebody who gets into this stuff I

guarantee you there could be some huge
battles over within the various

communities of interest that are
excluded compared to the ones that are

included one of the things that I just
didn't like in here it bans its bans

commissioners from them talking to
ordinary people you can't talk to

anybody you can only talk to your staff
attorneys experts and consultants well

I'm sorry these are a group of random
randomly selected people I want them

walking around talking people saying I'm
on this commission I just get my name

got drawn I'm gonna do my job what do
you think can't do that you can only

talk to your staff your attorneys here
experts and your consultants I don't

think that's good public policy that
accuses a lie to this idea that this is

for people not politicians I think that
it just is it's wrong and in final

conclusion I think this is a it tends to
do too much and end up ends up with a

complex structure that will end in
endless disputes now I'm 76 I'm not

practicing law anymore but many of my
younger colleagues are going to have a

lot of fun with this and it's gonna
anybody thinks that this is the perfect

structure that will last forever in
Michigan because it's the fairest and

the people will love it and the
politicians will accept it

I don't think so we fight over politics
because politics is a tool by which we

allocate wealth and earth state we
decide who gets money it's all about the

money it'll continue to be and they will
continue to be fight for it I'm gonna

stop on that one I'm give you two
minutes on

promote the vote I think the promote the
vote is largely just a grab bag of good

government ideas have been kicking
around the Republicans have basically

stopped them is correct
they have operated an another model that

is the integrity of the process requires
procedural steps and filing deadlines at

all those kinds of that was the view of
both parties and our political system

for 100 years or so we really have been
moving along toward a much more open

process a for example straight
party-line voting Republicans block that

because they think it favors Democrats
no reason absentee they block that

because they think it serves people that
aren't serious about voting and don't

have reason and they should do it I
don't see anything wrong with those

proposals they are
I wouldn't put them in the Constitution

but they're fine but I think there's
some other things that may or may not

create problems there is this idea of
automatic registration as a result of

doing business with the Secretary of
State all you have to do is be do

business with her him that's not the
worst thing in the world if it's if it's

regulated no the secretary state doesn't
necessarily determine whether you're a

citizen or whether you're eligible to
vote or you're a former felon when

you're doing business the secretary see
that's not their business and then of

all of a sudden it it's been happening
where people who are not citizens go in

on this motor voter get their driver's
license and they the clerk was you know

do you want to be a do you want to vote
boom yes and they're not eligible the

registration by mail
is new it's something that I wouldn't

vote for but I think the way they've
written it or you have to show up a real

person has to show up the first time you
vote with a real ID

makes it worth same with same-day
registration I have been involved in a

lot of Elections for many many years I
sort of ran the what the Republicans

called the voter Integrity Unit to see
what was going on it was bad the

Democrats called us the voter
suppression unit they're winning that

argument unfortunately but what I found
was almost everything we got on Election

Day with people all over the state was
no corruption just people made mistakes

it's getting harder and harder to have
skilled election day workers and and

therefore it's getting raggedy around
the edges sometimes but there's very

little corruption in my mind organized
corruption it doesn't mean some voters

are not treated badly by argue that it's
mostly the people that are not the worst

part of this provision that I don't that
I feel is if you end up permanently

locking these things into the
Constitution you eliminate the normal

legislative process
now I'm sure I'll always find left-wing

groups that are listed as a draft
sponsors of it think they have created

the perfect model for elections and
they're going to lock it in the

Constitution the truth is in about ten
years they will want something different

too and I'll have to go back to the
people instead of going back to the

so the overall proposal three is not the

worst but it has some bad things in it
that at least

get me to vote no proposal too is awful
but you've heard the other side of that

wood that'll stop and listen to our
expert on the team and now we turn to

the professional election administrator
on our panel Chris Thomas who has served

governors and secretaries of state both
parties and it turned his hair gray

maybe but he was there for three and a
half decades and will get his views on

these two proposals great thank you very
much I'd like to thank the Ford school

for holiness the marvelous opportunity
for everyone to get a good view of

what's going on with these proposals and
it's good to be with my friend Richard

on a panel you always know where Richard
is you never have any doubt and you know

the ACLU used to sue me all the time and
in retirement they become my best

friends so it's been just great so I did
work in this business for a long time I

was the director of elections for 36
years as was a department for 40 and I

worked for the Federal Election
Commission for a few years before that

so it's been a long haul in election
administration and as an administrator I

was a civil servant so I didn't go out
and support ballot proposals it's the

first time I've had this opportunity so
I'm trying to catch up a bit so just for

I guess notice here I've not endorsed
proposal two but I have endorsed

proposal three and I'm not opposed to
proposal two but I just haven't done a

public endorsement so I make a few
comments about proposal two and then

move on to proposal three which gets my
blood running a little little thicker so

it's it is complicated I mean Richards
got it down exactly right this is a

complicated process it always has been
there's a lot of moving parts and the

lawyers will do well journalism will
have a good time following them but I

think it's time to try something new so
we've had Republicans have had their

good fortune to control the entire
process in in 2001 when the districts

are drawn and again in 2011 so they've
had basically a twenty year period where

they've had all the marbles and by the
time they got to 2011 they might have

gotten what some would call little
greedy which is why we're here today on

this issue because people I think
believe it's gone a little too far I

mean you look at our state Senate
there's 27 Republicans and 11 Democrats

now it's just hard to imagine in this
state how that could be well it's the

art of drawing the line so I would make
a couple other comments here so one of

the deals is you know the for
Republicans for Democrats and five

unaffiliated and Richards right I mean
it's gonna how they end up defining that

term is going to be critical but there's
one thing in Lansing thought which I

think doesn't really mirror the rest of
of the electorate is that people's

partisan affiliations whether they're
hard or loose somehow or another define

their character and in Lansing that's
pretty much the case I mean you're

either this or that and they believe
that there is no middle ground I think

most people have a leaning one way or
another but it's not the most central

thing in their life to be a lean
Republican or lean Democratic they have

many other issues that motivate them and
they may be ideology and they may be

just issues and of course we're all
starting to move with what they tell us

nationally together you know
ideologically we're finding our

Islands and I'm in the territory of Ann
Arbor today so when they talk about

drawing lines that don't
disproportionately advantage or

disadvantage one of the political
parties well the Republicans aren't

going to do so well here and they won't
do so well in Detroit but they'll do

very well in many other areas of the
state so it's good there will be more

competitive districts but not every
district is going to be competitive so

you just need to keep that in mind
because of the nature of the populations

that they represent and Richard is right
this concept of community of interests

though that is going to be a real
linchpin in this in terms of them

figuring out how this is going to work
and also this concept of the acceptable

measures of partisan fairness this is
the heart of the litigation that's been

going on is how do you determine
fairness and are these efforts from

Wisconsin and elsewhere to try to get
the supreme court to recognize that and

make that a factor I mean right now one
of the apportionment factors that's been

approved by the US Supreme Court is that
you don't throw the incumbent out of its

district now that's to most people kind
of a ridiculous deal so in California

which is very I think that's the one
that's most similar to Michigan the the

way it worked it was kind of interesting
because they use it in 2011 so 45

percent of the the incumbents had
territory that wasn't part of their

district before and 41 percent of them
had more newer voters that they never

represented so it did mix things up a
bit and they didn't consider where

incumbents were so they threw a lot of
incumbents together and sometimes they

ran against each other sometimes they
just retired so I think that this is a

proposal that's got some merit because
of where we find themselves now if the

Democrats get all those marbles
there's such nice people they would

never do the same thing would they yes
they would

and yes they would because that's the
game that's exactly the way the game

works there's nothing evil lurking in
this it's just the game of it this is a

zero-sum game folks
we don't not have proportionate

representation you either win the
district or you lose it and that that's

what that's all about so I'm going to
shift gears here so I want to talk a

little bit about proposal three promote
the vote this is a critical opportunity

for Michigan to catch up Michigan has
lagged behind the rest of the states in

terms of access to the ballot and the
way it's been done in this state before

the last decade and a half was that
access would be increased and there'd be

a measurable deterrent to balance it so
in other words you don't just slam the

door and say fraud fraud fraud we hear
the fraudsters all the time and that is

the biggest untruth out there and I
Richard hit it right there is not

massive fraud but that is the the reason
that's given in many cases of why we're

not moving forward firm limits may well
play a role in that that is probably one

of the most unhealthy things that
Michigan has ever done so when you look

at no reason absentee balloting the
Presidential Commission on election

administration highly recommended that
every state should give the voters that

opportunity to vote Michigan is one of

funny we give everyone 60 and older the
opportunity to vote no reason age is not

a reason folks that's just a grant of no
reason absentee voting to one segment of

the population and they've handled it so
well that I'm sure that the rest of the

population can get on board and
learn from senior citizens like myself

that this works just fine automatic
registration I mean look the beginning

and the end of automatic registration is
the question nobody's being

automatically registered without them
standing there and answering a question

right now the Secretary of State said
you know right assertive oh yes or no

this will say you'll be registered to
vote unless you decline to be registered

that's the only difference
all the citizenship safeguards done at

Secretary of State's office remain in
full effect

so non-citizens are not sneaking through
because of this proposal so I think

that's something that everyone needs to
bear in mind and it actually follows the

National Voter Registration Act which
says they voter a driver's license

application shall be a voter
registration application unless the

voter declines in writing we don't do it
that way we should be doing it that way

that's the federal law so the safeguards
are there this this is just a good way

to go about it in straight party voting
now we've had consolidation of Elections

in this state for the last decade and a
half which is a good thing we've

eliminated all these special elections
all over the place and gone to for

election dates and now three but when we
did that straight party voting was a

predicate and so what did the
legislature do knowing that straight

party voting was there they loaded up
the general election ballot first they

put all the villages on the general
election ballot then they put all the

school districts on the election the
general election day ballot and now

they've permitted cities to go on to the
Election Day ballot in November of the

even year so we're making this a longer
and longer process for voters and

without straight party voting it's just
going to make it worse for everybody and

obviously they put an appropriation in
to take care of the

the in the to kill the ability to have a
referendum because you can't referendum

appropriation bill it's a very sneaky
tactic that's being used now in Lansing

when they did it before and 64 and 2002
BAM as a referendum overwhelmingly react

re-enacted by the voters so I would note
that the other things that deal with

registration in terms of moving to 30
day that's fine it's not going to cause

any problems we have a lot of electronic
registrations now that are coming in so

there's no real Clerk issue there the 14
days before the election it got to show

up in person you've got to have proof a
document proving where you register or

where your ro your resident and this is
going to be a very low volume it's an

extra trip folks that people have to
make to the clerk's office election day

registration is really a safety net
it'll really kind of remove what we have

now with the affidavit ballots and one
thing I want to make absolutely clear

this is not done in the polling place on
Election Day this will only be done in a

clerk's office so it's not like people
are going to inundate pulling places and

try to force themselves onto the file
they're going to have to go to the

actual city clerk and go through this
process to get on the ballot and the

post-election audits this fits right in
with the national security issues on our

election system and Michigan is stepping
up to this and it's time for them to

really take this on the Bureau has done
a great job in Lansing and we're ready

for that next step they have come up
with risk limiting audits they can use

statistical sampling that actually can
tell you something about the results

rather than just taking five percent and
trying to make some sense out of it so

these are rights
these are rights for voters and these

are things that are being done their
common sense programs that are being

done in many other states without any
big fraud issues or anything else so

it's really time for Michigan to step up
and open up access and maintain security

thank you thank you to our four
panelists and now we'll turn to some

questions from the audience for Ford
school students will be responsible for

sorting the questions and choosing them
they represent two of the sponsors of

our panel the student groups we listen
and domestic policy core two of them

have a microphone and they will
introduce themselves the other to lack

of microphone so let me introduce them
the folks who are sorting the the

questions down here are Chris Carson
Rivera in the domestic policy core and

nikto may know from we listen and Tom
vivanco the associate director of

close-up is giving him a hand here on
the end so let me turn first to the Oh

before we turned any questions Leslie
that our timekeeper who has kept us

right on schedule here is Heather
getting hammered we thank her so let me

turn now to the students who will be
reading the questions let them introduce

themselves and ask the first question hi
I'm Sophie I'm a first year MPP student

here and I am also part of the domestic
policy Corps and also as a lifelong

Michigander and someone very interested
in democratic engagement as clearly so

many other people are thank you all very
much for being here we have a lot of

really great questions so we'll try to
get through as many as we can but maybe

just keep that in mind while we're going
through that we'll try to get to as many

as possible our first one is in regards
to proposition three has research been

done to estimate how much this proposal
may increase voter participation rates

yes the Center for American Progress did
a report earlier this year they actually

did they've done a number of
ports that were really helpful for me

one was on election security but then
they did a report where they estimated

the the impact of all the sort of
common-sense reforms that different

states are doing and so what we're
saying now is that it would increase

turnout by several hundred thousand
voters in 2020 according to the Center

for American Progress they would
estimate about four hundred thousand

voters but I'm guessing this gentleman
might have a okay all right so that's um

you know it's a little bit hard to
predict because any any forms of those

research are always done in another
state right and so all the different

intricacies of an election system can
have an impact but that's the estimate

that that we've been going with because
they did the report to help us out with


wonderful so my name is Allie berry I am
a senior in the undergraduate BA program

here and I'm involved with we listen our
question is for Nancy about prop 2 how

how would it be possible to stop
lobbyists and their dollars from

influencing the members of the
commission of this redistricting

committee right so again I would go to

transparency so mr. McClellan said
earlier that the commissioners would not

be able to be talking to the public
that's that's not true it's that they

would have to do the commissioners would
have to be talking to the public at open

meetings only there's there'd be no more
of this backroom kind of secretive

redistricting that's going on right now
so we know what we have right now which

is that lobbyists go and and they're
they're able to have influence on the

maps again this bridge article uncovered
you know the I mean they were going

through the emails that were uncovered
during this litigation and the people

the consultants that were drawing these
maps shared them with you know the DeVos

family and other
being Republican donors for their input

so that is happening right now it's just
that we don't actually know you know

who's involved and what influence they
have unless you know it comes to light

through litigation under our proposal
the commissioners again it would be

written into the Constitution that they
would have to conduct all of their

business in the light of day so that's
how you would know this is perhaps a

little bit towards proposition three
what is any of your opinion on laws such

as what the Australians have that
mandate that each voter must vote this

question writer notes that perhaps it's
a little invasive on people's rights but

an interesting idea do you have thoughts
yeah well that would be interesting to

try to do in this country I think every
voters should vote what I believe they

do is levy a little fine or tax on them
if they don't vote it might stimulate a

few to do that but one thing we have in
this country right now is a right not to

vote anybody else want to comment on
that one okay so this one is for mr.

McClellan the question is you touched on
a little bit how you do speak up a

little bit on Deafness your never heard
that's okay um you mentioned briefly

that you thought that prop three wasn't
necessarily the worst and so the

question is what election reforms would
you support if any at all perhaps the

elimination of the electoral college or
a ranked voting system to help move

politicians to the middle okay slow down
and speak up okay regarding prop three

which you mentioned wasn't necessarily
the worst the question is what election

reforms would you support what election
reforms would I support right and then

they give two examples one being the
elimination of the electoral college and

the other being a ranked voting system
well I'm conservative and

tend not to change something we've had
for a couple hundred years but I do

believe that the rules from time to time
and election should be changed I'm not

opposed at all in fact I've been
involved in them for 40 years

legislative changes to modernize and
make our rules of the elections more

consistent with the Constitution that
says preserve the purity of elections so

as new technology comes in things like
same-day registration a number of those

things might be work fine I'm not at all
opposed to them but things like the

electoral college that is such a huge
change it's like the National one-person

one-vote that would shift all the power
to California and New York and Texas I'm

against that and the kind shower running
that as a Republican I believe he's

the it's kind of an ugly situation the

electoral college but it certainly
reflects the fact that this u.s. United

States is a group of sovereign states we
are one country that has one population

so I'm I'm against that sort of thing I
got a number of other give me almost any

issue and I'll give you an opinion one
way or the other cuz I spent a lot of

time on a lot of things I'll just say
one more thing that I I was gonna bring

up voter voter who let everybody vote in
some communities means illegal aliens

people just come over they that I don't
believe in I believe the vote is a right

of a citizen and if you've ever been to
a citizenship swearing-in ceremony and

you see new Americans and what they
think about their adopted country and

the rights that they have
they do not want people who haven't gone

through the work is hard work to be a
citizen so I'm in favor of voting for

citizens all citizens unless you're
excluded and I'm not if you're in prison

no but if you get out of prison yes so
these are complicated issues and you're

not going to be able to solve them by
one-shot ballot proposal put together by

some group in a dark room no I was not
invited to their drafting session i

guaranteed motors not populations were
put together by a very secretive group

well that leads right into our next
question which is coming to us from

Twitter what is the logic of denying the
right to vote to convicted felons not

only the ones paroled but also ones
currently incarcerated and this can be

for Richard or mr. McCullen but also for
any of the panelists I think the only

theory is that they have forfeited their
right to be treated as a regular citizen

and I used to be chairman of the
Michigan Corrections Commission and and

I'd go down to the prisons a couple of
times and I it's one of those things

that I think may just be outdated
I bought firmly believe that if you've

done your time and you're back in
society you should not be disqualified

from getting licenses for professions
they rejected two former woman there

were inmates and had learned to be
massage therapists in prison so they

could get a job so they went to get a
job in the licensing board of the same

state government said no you can't do it
I just don't believe in that if you're

if you're a former convicted felon you
should be treated to all the rights of a

citizen restored to his or her lie when
they go to prison or certain things

that is a policy decision I don't know
that I would make but it was made and

it's not unreasonable to say you have
forfeited certain rights while you

forfeited your personal freedom for one
thing so that's my view on that I would

just make a quick comment so in Michigan
as Richards describing when you're

released you've served your time you
have your rights back and there's no

process you need to go through and this
is on the Florida ballot this year we're

in Florida you don't get your rights
back and you have to go to a board that

I believe that governor participates in
a very lengthy process in order to get

those back so there are big differences
across the country about how states

handle this okay great this is another
question for mr. Thomas you mentioned

two term limits as bad can you elaborate
on that and do others have thoughts

especially their impact on
gerrymandering yeah I think they stink

and I think as Richards indicator is had
a very bad effect on the continuity of

government the idea I mean everybody's
term limit you can vote them out I mean

the people stay because people continue
to vote them in and so what happened in

my opinion is that the power shifted
from these legislative committees like

Richard mentioned back in those days the
election committee it was very robust

and these folks were on that for a
number of years they understood a good

part of the process the folks that come
now they're there six years in the house

there are eight years in the Senate they
don't stay on the same committees they

move around they don't understand this
stuff the best thing about elections to

them is till they got elected under the
rules and it was good for them but they

don't really understand the intricacies
so where's that power gone

it's going to lobbyists and a little bit
to the bureaucracy because these folks

don't know and then when the committee
staff when they started retiring they

lost everything so it's it's been a bad
deal and I don't think the state's been

served well this is a concern that mr.
McCullen bought brought up perhaps this

would be for ms wang to respond to but
proposal two proposes a 13 member board

composed of four Democrats four
Republicans and five independence or

non-affiliated what is or how would
independence be selected will it be

verified that they are independent or
non-affiliated right so if I may just

start with a clarification so mr.
McClellan said that's the secretary of

state would be selecting these
commissioners that's not true so people

would have the ability to apply and then
the selection is only just her or him

randomly choosing you know applications
from the pool of people that applied in

terms of party affiliation so here in
Michigan as many of you know we don't

have party registration and so on the
application form you'd have to

self-identify as a Republican or a
Democrat or non-affiliated under oath

the term unaffiliated or affiliated is
ripe for a lot of litigation are we

going to force party registration so
you're not registered well what do we

mean by not affiliated again it doesn't
mean you don't have partisan views it

means you're not affiliated at that time
with a particular party I'm just a

lawyer I I look for all of monkey
wrenches that we could possibly throw at

this but it's if it's adopted I won't be
doing it but I know other employers

this is a question for mr. Linton you
referred to voting access performance

bipartisan but historically Republicans
have not supported greater access to

polls how much reform across the nation
has been accomplished by citizen LED

ballot initiatives versus legislative
reform well that's tough okay so so I

sometimes people push back on me and
they ask this question they want me to

say that it is a partisan issue and if
and if you if you notice I said citizens

the citizens and the public think of
this as a non partisan issue I can't

necessarily speak to every individual
state legislature or even our own state

legislature over the last few years I
obviously know and and I and I wouldn't

suggest otherwise that since 20 since
the election of Barack Obama there's

been a wave of anti voter laws around
the country most significantly voter ID

laws and I'm aware of that
but I don't think that negates the fact

that you've also seen a variety of
states with Republican governors and

Republican legislatures adopting reforms
and so I think one thing that mr. Thomas

has been working on is online voter
registration 38 states have online voter

registration now that by definition must
include red states right another example

just off the top of my head would be
automatic voter registration automatic

voter registration is the newest some
states that come to mind that have it

are Alaska not a particularly blue state
in case you didn't know

and Alaska actually adopted it through a
ballot initiative so in Alaska's case

automatic you are automatically
registered to vote when you get I don't

remember the term but in Alaska when you
get benefits under there

oil and gas program so when you become a
part of that program you also get

automatically registered and that was
through ballot initiative

I'm not sure that I can't give you exact
numbers on how many states have adopted

reform through balan receives the other
one that comes to mind is Maryland I

think adopted some reforms through
ballot initiative I think if you have a

legislature that's willing to provide
the reform through the legislative

process you don't take the extraordinary
expense and hundreds of thousands of

signatures to try and do it through a
ballot initiative but after 28 years of

waiting for just no reason absentee
voting it doesn't seem like there were

any other options
this will be the final question we have

time for this can be for any of our
panelists for either of the propositions

what impact do these proposals have on
marginalized or economically

disadvantaged urban communities was
proposed in the question marginalized

what kind of marginalized groups or
economically disadvantaged communities

I'll just go first because I just talked
so I mean one of the things I mean I'm

sure I can be done so so you know
individuals who struggle to vote and

register are often individuals who move
a lot right who will have low levels of

education or low income why because all
those things kind of fit together right

if you have a low income you are more
likely to be moving your home your home

situation and your housing is likely to
be less stable and so the more often

you're moving the more often you have to
be updating your voter registration and

the more likely your registration is not
going to be valid for me at this point

in my life in the same house for 18
years I don't have to think about that

but for an individual whose housing is
not stable it's a much greater barrier

so I think you know providing an
opportunity for eligible citizens to

register on Election Day means that if
you happen to have moved because that's

your circumstance due to economics or
otherwise that you'll be able to remedy

that you'll be able to get rear edges
turn on on Election Day and still have

your voice and the fact that your
economics are just circumstance or your

housing circumstance doesn't necessarily
fit you know as well with our voter

registration system
won't disenfranchise you I agree with

urban areas is moving moving and

switching schools and all that is a very
disruptive of these citizens ability to

access the services that we others
expect hey I want them to say one more

thing before we go if you haven't read
it our good friend impact who runs

pretty magazine read this magazine read
this article about how a shadow

Republican group gerrymandered michigan
sparking a backlash i wanted his his

reporters have really dug deep into what
we thought was secret room it's where we

came up with this stuff but so it's a
good magazine if you want to read about

esther marginalized communities under a
proposal the commission would have to

abide by the federal Voting Rights Act
that's federal law it applies now it

applies under this proposal and I would
just say that as to all voters including

historically disenfranchised voters they
would they would have their votes count

with a yes vote on proposal two they
would not be packed and cracked in two

different districts just because you
know they can be reliably counted on to

vote for one party or another every vote
would actually count I would give a

cautionary tale so the US Supreme Court
last spring issued a decision called

Houston after the Ohio Secretary of
State and in Ohio this law said that if

you didn't vote in an election then a
cancellation notice would be sent to you

and in that packet of material you get
is a little card the er-2 return if you

want to stay on the file or you need to
vote sometime within the next two

federal elections the NVRA the National
Voter Registration Act says you cannot

even initiate the cancellation process
based on the failure to vote well that's

exactly what they do and for whatever
reason the US Supreme Court said well

they don't really cancel them because
that they cancel them because they

forgot to send a little card back
well how many little cards do you

receive in the mail that end up going in
the trash right that you never quite get

to so what this would result in in
Michigan if that were implemented here

and there have been some discussions
along those lines would be thousands and

thousands of voters thrown off the rolls
having no idea that it was because of

this little card four years ago that
they didn't respond to election day

registration is the safety net to any of
that type of activity to give people of

all economic situations the ability to
get back on the file and vote on

Election Day anyone else got a final few
thoughts they want to place before that

audience I did I did write once
non-citizens and I circled it a few

times you know as a voting rights
strategist the the the nightmare of

non-citizens is just so frustrating
because I think as mr. Thomas pointed

out we have a system for registering
individuals right now and they're

required to check a box and you know
affirm their eligibility which includes

that they're citizen and perhaps I just
need to say affirmative ly proposal

three is not going to allow citizens to
become registered there's nothing about

proposal three that allowed sorry
non-citizens that allows non-citizens to

become registered but and no voting
right advocate I've ever met is

advocating for non-citizens who don't
have a right to vote under you know

state law here in Michigan to be able to
register and vote but it is the

boogeyman it is that it is the nightmare
that's thrown out there no matter what

proposal you put forward I'm sure if it
had been the talking point back when

motor-voter was adopted here in Michigan
it would have been the argument for why

we do shouldn't have motor-voter it is
just the argument no matter whether

you're adopting the most basic thing
that every state already has or you're

adopting something new and novel and
none of the things in proposal three are

new and novel they've all been adopted
in other states and their voting system

is not falling down full of illegal
citizens on the voter registration rolls

so this is very disappointing that
that's always the argument regardless of

whether it has any basis in reality and
that includes Kansas yes so Kansas has

also adopted reforms even though they
have the individual who's most concerned

with non-citizens abscessed might some
some might say with non-citizens okay

well that brings our panel to a close I
hope you'll join me in thanking the