“My people, my ancestors, they were killed for the right to vote. They had dogs sicked on them, water hoses. And we see so many attacks now against our democracy. We better try to strengthen it as much as we can.”
Detroiter Sheryon Stennis is a supporter of Proposal 3, one of three statewide proposals on the Michigan ballot this election. If approved, Prop. 3 will add eight voting policies to the state’s constitution, including automatic voter registration, same-day voter registration, no-reason absentee voting and straight-party ticket voting.
Among other changes, Proposal 3 calls for all eligible Michigan residents to be registered to vote when they apply for, update or renew their driver’s license or state-issued ID, unless they opt out.
Ferndale resident Seth Reese said he supports the proposal because he thinks it will give people more power.
“The easier you make it to register, the more people will vote. Right? Make it as easy as you can,” said Reese.
The proposal would also change the voter registration deadline. Right now, Michigan residents need to sign up to vote at least 30 days before an election. Prop 3 would allow Michigan to join a list of more than a dozen states that let residents register through Election Day.
Detroiter Shelby Austin said she’d be all for the move.
“It’s ridiculous that you can’t walk in and register day of. They make it incredibly inconvenient for people to vote,” said Austin.
Current Secretary of State Ruth Johnson is wary of same-day voter registration because she believes it would create an unrealistic time crunch for clerks to process applications.
Another thing Prop. 3 would do is change who can vote by mail or at their clerk’s office prior to Election Day. Right now that option, known as absentee voting, is only available to voters who will be out of town, are over 60, who would need assistance voting at the polls, who are awaiting arraignment or a trial in jail, who won’t be able to make it to the polls for religious reasons, or who will be working the elections. Prop. 3 would let people sign up to vote absentee for any reason.
Detroiter Monica Castelow said that makes her a little nervous.
“I don’t know if I would be interested in just no stipulations. Because I think it opens up the door for more voter fraud and things like that. So, maybe some stipulations,” said Castelow.
A few other residents WDET encountered expressed their support of the voting changes listed in Prop. 3, as long as those changes wouldn’t increase opportunities for voter fraud, which studies suggest would be highly unlikely. Yet even with some hesitations, none of the 15 people willing to talk to WDET said they opposed the proposal.