PEG 12th Congressional District
Newsletter #211. Thursday, April 29, 2021
Voter Suppression Bill SB285 puts voters at risk for identity theft 
Michigan voters have proven their identity when they registered to vote. Their signature is validated when their ballot is received by comparing it to the voter’s registration.              

In proposing bill SB285, Michigan Republicans in the GOP-led State Senate are asking absentee ballot voters to mail in a photocopy of their ID along with their application for an absentee ballot. If the Voter ID is not included, the vote would become provisional “Provisional” and would require a trip to the clerk’s office for the Absentee Ballot to be counted.
                  
Requiring a photocopy of your ID go through the mail in this age of stolen identities is dangerous. In 2017, nearly 16.7 million people had their identities stolen by thieves who unlawfully accessed personal information. If personal information is stolen, a voter could lose money, a good credit rating, and overall financial health.

SB285 would make it much harder to vote for the thousands of Michigan voters who have issues with transportation and financial constraints or may be out-of-town during the election. SB285 discourages voting by adding the risk of becoming a victim of identity theft.          

Please call these state Senators and tell them SB285 which requires mail-in photocopies of ID increases the likelihood of voters becoming victims of identity theft and poses an unnecessary burden and risk to Absentee Ballot voters: seniors, disabled, working and rural voters.
  • Tom Barrett (R-24,Lansing) 517-373-3447
  • Ed McBroom (R-38,UP) 517-373-7840
  • Kevin Daley(R-31,Bay City) 517-373-1777
  • Jim Stamas (R-36, Clare) 517-373-7946
  • Ken Horn(R-32, Saginaw) 517-373-1760
  • Dale Zorn (R-17, Monroe) 517-373-3543
Events
Friday, April 30. A conversation about voting rights
University of Kentucky Law Professor Joshua A. Douglas, author of Vote for US: How to Take Back our Elections and Change the Future of Voting, is widely considered to be one of the most important voting rights experts in the country. Join League of Women Voters-Ann Arbor President Joan Sampieri as she talks with Douglas about his book and the current state of voting rights. Register here. Noon–1:30 pm
Sunday, May 2. Conversations!
Chuck Newman will interview Thomas Zurbuchen, the Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA and get an insider’s view of NASA’s achievements and plans. As fascinating as that will be with the missions on Mars and elsewhere, his own story is equally riveting. 
  Do yourself a big favor and check out his inspiring documentary https://youtu.be/2pov_bBZbxc. As the son of a preacher in a fundamentalist church in Switzerland he wasn’t encouraged to go to college, and yet his burning need to answer some of life’s biggest questions resulted in his becoming one of the world's greatest and most impactful scientists. 

Please share this invitation to this interview as more people deserve to be inspired by what they  learn. They will thank you for it. Send questions for Dr. Zurbuchen to Chuck@Lba80.com. Click here to join the Zoom Event. 7 pm
Tuesday, May 4. Shutting down the ticking time bomb
The outdated, 68-year-old pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac is set to be shut down in May. Enbridge’s time has run out — but they aren’t going down without a fight. A Line 5 rupture in the Straits of Mackinac would impact 700 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, take years to clean up and devastate the Great Lakes economy. Shutting down Line 5 is crucial to protect the Great Lakes from a catastrophic oil spill. Join Michigan LCV with Jeff Insko, professor of English at Oakland University; Whitney Gravelle, president, Bay Mills Indian Community; and Riyaz Kanjii, Tribal Litigator at Kanji and Katzen and Michigan LCV board member, for a conversation on the steps to shutting down Line 5. Join the zoom here. 5–6 pm
Wednesday, May 5. Rethinking redistricting
Join Fems for Dems for an educational meeting to gain access to a digital tool to not only understand how the districts currently look, but also how they might look after redistricting, and provide feedback directly to the redistricting commission. This on-line tool has everything from a demographic perspective and allows comparisons from every perspective of the current or the proposed maps.
The discussion will have special guests:
  • Future Now Fund’s Director of Research Aaron Kleinman, who will share fascinating insights into what happened in 2020 and look ahead to redistricting’s impact on MI state legislature in 2022.
  • Bob Chunn and Yalcin Yanikoglu from Rela2ve. They create election-related technology designed for integrative outreach campaigns that educate and activate voters.
  • Chris Greig, Former House Democratic Leader - 100th Legislature and MI 37th House District (Farmington and Farmington Hills), will discuss a Michigan legislator's perspective on redistricting. 
RSVP here. 7 pm
Saturday, May 8. Votercades — National day of action for voting rights 
National day of action in support of the For the People Act (H.R. 1), the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act (H.R. 4), and D.C. Statehood. This legislation is indispensable; without a Voting Rights Act and D.C. Statehood, underrepresented citizens will continue to be disenfranchised! Save the date for this national day of action. Speakers will be followed by motorcades all over the country. The bigger the event, the more effective it will be. Updated information still forthcoming on who’s organizing in Ann Arbor. Learn more and sign up. 2–4 pm
Saturday, May 15. Coffee hour with Sen. Jeff Irwin
This Virtual Coffee with Jeff, allows citizens to address concerns arising within the community and receive the latest news from Lansing. Please use this form to RSVP to receive a link to join the meeting. Registration deadline is Friday, May 14 by 5 pm. 11 am–noon 
Wednesday, May 19. Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission update
It’s time for the public to give input to the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission to assist in the redistricting process. The Commission is hosting hearings throughout the state starting May 11 to hear from self-identified Communities of Interest – i.e., any geographic group with shared interests that doesn’t want to be split up in the new redistricting. A2D2 is hosting a discussion with Lisa Jevens, a volunteer for Voters Not Politicians and an A2D2 steering committee member, who will update attendees on the redistricting process, the public hearings and how to prepare testimony as a group. Join A2D2 for the opportunity to ask questions about how (and why) to participate in the redistricting process. Jevens will be joined by fellow VNP volunteer Sandy Sorini-Elser. via Zoom Meeting ID: 213 620 7441, Passcode: FOMU. 7 pm
Things to read, watch, and listen to
Final Census results in loss of Michigan congressional seat
On Monday, April 26, 2021, the first set of 2020 census results came in. The seven states losing one vote each are California, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Texas gained two more votes in Congress and the Electoral College for the next decade — while Colorado, Florida, Montana, North Carolina and Oregon each gained one seat.
 
The long-awaited announcement has reset the balance of power for the next decade in the House of Representatives and the Electoral College, where each state's share of votes is tied to its census numbers.

The results had been held up for months due to delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the Trump administration's interference last year. Under current federal law, these state population numbers were due by the end of 2020. But the bureau has been warning since last April that census results would be delivered later than originally planned. A bipartisan group of lawmakers recently renewed a push in Congress to formally extend legal reporting deadlines for the 2020 count. Redistricting data is scheduled to be released in late summer, which is past the legally mandated deadline for redistricting in some states.
There are several firsts regarding the 2020 decennial census data:
  • The agency will publish several operational metrics when it releases the data, including how the bureau counted a household (or an address, if vacant) — through self-response, in-person or proxy interview, or using administrative records, for example — and how those methods were distributed across geographic areas.
  • In addition, the bureau has allowed the American Statistical Association (ASA) to conduct its own review of census operations. The ASA will be releasing reports on the quality of the decennial census data throughout the year.
  • The agency plans to implement differential privacy, and it is expected to explain how it plans to handle that closer to June. Differential privacy is a way to share a massive data set while protecting the privacy of individuals. There are also questions about the data’s quality because of the rush to finish the count last fall and the Census Bureau’s plans to use differential privacy. Sixteen states have joined a lawsuit filed by Alabama against the Census Bureau, challenging the bureau’s plans to use differential privacy.

NPR opined that “In a hypothetical redo of the 2020 presidential race using the new map, President Biden would still claim victory with a slightly smaller margin. This projection assumes that each state’s electoral votes (including most of Maine’s and Nebraska’s votes) would have gone to the same candidate as they did in last November’s election.”

Additional reading
For questions and answers about the Census, read NPR and the Washington Post. 
Next week – Redistricting and Apportionment laws and Michigan’s redistricting activity.
Uncle of Jacob Blake arrested while protesting officer’s return to duty
Last year White officer Rusten Shesky shot the elder Blake’s Black nephew seven times while responding to a domestic incident paralyzing him from the waist down. According to Kenosha County Sheriff's Department (KCSD) Justin S. Blake was arrested on Sunday for disorderly conduct and obstructing an officer after blocking the public entrance to the Public Safety Building. He was one of three who remained sitting by the front door in calm protest and were arrested. “These targeted arrests of the three protesters that were blocking the door to the Public Safety Building should not ignore that the majority of people today had been out for hours during an incredibly peaceful protest," according to KCSD. Read more here. -CNN

Jacob Blake's Ann Arbor family roots
Jacob Blake, the 29-year-old Black man shot by Kenosha police in an incident that has garnered national attention and sparked demonstrations and rioting, has family ties to Ann Arbor. “[Namely] the late Richard Blake, who was the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority’s marketing service coordinator and namesake of the Blake Transit Center in downtown Ann Arbor,” said Commissioner Mashod Evans, pastor of the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Ann Arbor. “His grandparents, great grandparents and great-great grandparents are all in some way, shape or form connected to this great city,” Evans said of Jacob Blake. “Anyone who has been to the Blake Transit Center, we are somehow connected to a legacy from which this man comes,” he said. Blake was shot, apparently in the back, as he leaned into his SUV with three of his children inside, and Kenosha police have said little about what happened other than they were responding to a domestic dispute, the Associated Press reported. Blake is paralyzed and it would “take a miracle” for him to walk again, his family’s attorney said Tuesday. Enter your email address to read the full article here. -Mlive
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