The Voter
League of Women Voters of the Midland Area
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Board Meetings are held 9:30-11:30 the first Thursday of each month in Conference Room A of the Grace A. Dow Memorial Library. All members are invited to attend.

5 Jan 9:30am
Board Meeting
Library Conference Room A

20 Jan 11:45am
Michigan Gov't Finance
Trailside Senior Services

8 Feb 1:30pm
Program Planning, State & Local
Library Conference Room A

21 Feb 1:30pm
Consensus Mtg for
MI Government Finance Study
Educational booklet for new voters
Your Elected Officials
See Photo Albums on our Facebook page.
New Members
Welcome to new member Carol McPherson! We're looking forward to working with Carol and getting to know her. Also, welcome back to Julie Ortiz, returning after a couple years' hiatus.
Board of Directors

VP Membership

VP Program


Judy Donahue - Program
Terry Townley - Education
Cathy Heng - Print Media
Katherine Redwine - New Media
Carole Swinehart - Voter Service
Kim Steinke - Voter Service
Fran Hamburg - Director at Large



President's Letter

Our Holiday party is an annual highlight, and it didn't disappoint this year! Twenty-two of us gathered at Terry Townley's home on December 7, socializing with old and new members and enjoying a lovely dinner catered by students of the Windover High School Culinary Arts program under the direction of Chef Andy Bacigalupo. Many, many thanks to Terry for hosting us!

We have a number of recent and future events to report on - successful VOTE411 coverage; retirement of MCTV director Ron Beacom; upcoming program on January 20 featuring a panel discussion on our state and local finance processes; State and Local League program planning for 2017, and new members! Check below for more details.

Our recent election shines a light on two issues that have a significant impact on the outcome of our elections - redistricting and the Electoral College. See brief summaries below.

Happy Holidays to all,
Sue McCollister
Fran Hamburg, Maureen Pillepich, Karen Sherwood
Sandy Collinson, Terry Townley, Donna DeVinney
Carole Swinehart, Cathy Heng, Sue McCollister

More pics on Facebook
Joan Brausch, Judy Donahue
Vote411 Usage Doubles

Midland County had 2,850 hits on VOTE411 this election cycle, nearly double the 1,489 for the last presidential election in 2012. This may be due to two factors - increased number of races covered, as we included contested races in the higher-population townships for the first time; and more awareness of this useful tool for learning about candidates. Statewide totals were 218,066 for this year compared to 89,782 for 2012, a 2.4-fold increase. Michigan was again a leading state in providing candidate information on VOTE411.
Electoral College Position
With the winner of the presidential election losing the popular vote count, interest in the Electoral College is heightened. The LWV national position on the election of the President is that the winner should be determined by direct popular vote and that the Electoral College should be abolished.
Abolishing the Electoral College requires a constitutional amendment, which requires passage by two-thirds majorities in the House and Senate and passage by three-quarters of the states - something we're unlikely to see in a Republican-controlled Congress.  
For background on the history of the Electoral College, see this well-written summary from the    Ann Arbor LWV ( 

Redistricting Reform Activity
Redistricting reform remains a high priority issue for our State League. LWVMI continues to work with a coalition of organizations toward a more fair method of drawing the boundaries for our legislative districts so that the majority party in the legislature is elected by the majority of the voters. However, progress is difficult and slow, and the cost is high for bringing proposed changes to the voters in a ballot proposal.

There has been activity elsewhere in the country. In North Carolina, several court decisions have faulted the state legislature over its racial and partisan gerrymandering practices, requiring corrective action. Last month a federal court found Wisconsin's legislative maps unconstitutional due to gerrymandering. See this Salon article  for more details.

In the coming months we will hear more from the State League about opportunities to advocate for changes in redistricting. Stay tuned!

Farewell to Ron Beacom, MCTV
Photo of Ron Beacom
Ron Beacom_ Retiring MCTV Director
We were sorry to bid farewell to Ron Beacom, Director for Midland Community TV (MCTV) for the past 27 years.  We have produced candidate forums under Ron's guidance and expert technical capabilities all throughout that time and will miss our collaboration with him. He was always so supportive in his coaching of us TV neophytes. We wish him well in retirement.

Community Program on Government Finance
Friday, January 20, 11:45 a.m.
Midland Senior Services Trailside Center
4700 Dublin Ave.
Mark your calendars, and feel free to invite guests.

The Midland Area League will co-sponsor this program on State Government Finance with Midland County Senior Services. A speakers' panel including City of Midland Manager  Jon Lynch, Midland County Controller/ Administrator Bridgette Gransden,  and Jerome Township Treasurer Laura Grubaugh  will discuss the impact of the current state system on our county, city and township finances.

The program will help us prepare for the  LWVMI study on government finance, to update the current state position on Taxation and Budgeting. For study information, go to   Member Resources: StudiesOur meeting to take consensus is scheduled for February 21.

To register for the program, call 633-3700 by  9am  on  January 18 . Please be sure to specify if registering for the program only or the program and lunch. Attendees planning to have lunch need to arrive by  11:30am  at Trailside. Space is limited in the room, so please call ahead to reserve a spot. Lunches are by suggested donation to those over 60, or $6 for those under 60, payable at the door.

Program Planning - Feb 8
We have scheduled Wednesday, February 8 at 1:30 p.m. at the Grace A. Dow Memorial Library to do program planning for the State and our Local League. All members are welcome.
 If you are interested in joining, please fill out the form below, and send it in. If you have questions, please email Judy McDowell, VP Membership. 
mail to: LWV - Midland Area
P.O. Box 1203
Midland, MI 48641-1203
Any other questions or problems, email Katherine Redwine, e-newsletter editor.