Voters Talk Prop. 3: “My ancestors were killed for the right to vote.”

WDET/Laura Herberg

Sheryon Stennis

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.

See Proposal 3 Ballot Language

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.

Matthew Conzett

Seth Reese

Matthew Conzett

Shelby Austin

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.

Matthew Conzett

Monica Castelow with her cousin Khloe Jackson (left)

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.

You Speak: Proposal 3 Slideshow

Image credit: Bre'Anna Tinsley/WDET

This post is a part of Detroit Journalism Cooperative.

The DJC is a partnership of six media outlets focused on telling critical stories of Detroit and creating engagement opportunities on-air, online and in the community. View the partners work at

Support for this project comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Renaissance Journalism’s Michigan Reporting Initiative and the Ford Foundation.



This post is a part of 2018 Elections in Michigan.

On November 6, Michigan voters will decide who will be the state's new governor, attorney general and secretary of state. Some state House and Senate seats are up for grabs, and numerous initiatives are expected on ballots.

WDET is committed to providing honest, fair, inclusive coverage of Michigan's 2018 elections. Join us now and all the way to the voting booth to be an informed voter.


About the Author

Laura Herberg

Community Reporter

Through sound-rich storytelling, Herberg covers stories about the people inhabiting the metro Detroit region and the issues that affect them. Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter 2018 and 2017.

Follow @HerbergRadio

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