Under normal circumstances, the Detroit League would be hosting candidate forums, town halls, and educational events as a way to introduce political candidates and educate voters on issues relative to the community and country. But these are not normal times. So for the immediate future, we will continue to fulfill our obligations by posting digital information (virtual candidate forums, informational videos, and videoclips from candidates running for office). See below for links to virtual presentations and events as well as informational videos regarding the Census, the Citizens Redistricting Commission, and Michigan’s new voting laws.
AKA/LWV Collaborative Series: MI Redistricting Town Hall
[Thursday, April 8 @ 6:00pm] Join the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority-Tau Alpha Omega Chapter and the Detroit League of Women Voters for the first in a series of 2021 collaborative forums. Tonight’s program is on Michigan’s redistricting efforts. Our guest speaker is Charles Thomas, Jr., minister for People of Purpose Ministries, a long-standing distinguished member of LWV, a member of several voting rights groups, and a founding member of the Detroit League’s Speakers Bureau.
Use this link to Zoom Meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86968950307
DPL/LWV Collaborative Series Presents: Navigating Disinformation
[April 13, 2021 from 6:00 to 7:30pm] Join the Detroit Public Library and Detroit League of Women Voters for a collaborative forum on Navigating Disinformation with Nora Benvide, Director of U.S. Free Expression Programs, PEN America. This is a hands-on workshop on how to detect and counter mis/disinformation.
To receive the zoom link, you must first register with Eventbrite: https://dpl-navigating-disinformation.eventbrite.com.
Below is a flyer with more information. We encourage you to share information about this presentation as well as the registration link with friends and family.
For more information on this event, contact Cheryl Bukoff, Membership Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 313-288-9590.
Pen America is a long-established non-profit that works to ensure people everywhere have the freedom to create literature; convey information and ideas; express their views; and access the views, ideas, and literature of others. FMI about Pen America, refer to their website: https://pen.org.
Brews & Views⏤Election Security: Facts, Myths, and Fixes
[Wednesday, April 14, 2021 @ 7:00-8:30pm] The League of Women Voters Ann Arbor Area will host another Brews & Views forum on election security, lead by J. Alex Halderman, PhD, Professor of Computer Science and Engineering and Director for the Center for Computer Security and Society, University of Michigan.
The U.S. election system is the bedrock of our democracy, but disinformation and conspiracy theories have shaken many voters’ confidence. Unfounded allegations about the 2020 election include that results were hacked by voting machine manufacturers, that tens of thousands of ballots were misplaced, destroyed, or counted twice, and that thousands of people voted illegally. There is no credible evidence that the 2020 presidential outcome was affected by fraud, but some individuals and media organizations continue to sow doubts.
At the same time, U.S. elections do face real security threats, including increasingly aggressive hacking attempts by hostile governments. After years of underinvestment, some states have recently adopted stronger safeguards, but the nation as a whole remains a patchwork of strength and weakness. Without further action by Congress and the states, future elections will be vulnerable to both real attacks and false accusations of fraud. It is essential that voters be accurately informed about election security, both to counter disinformation and to understand what risks call for urgent action.
Register HERE to receive the meeting link.
For questions, contact Theresa Reid.
Artworks Brownbag Lunch Series: Voices and Votes
[April 30, 2021⏤12noon to 1:00pm] Throughout the month of April, Artworks (artworksinbigrapids.org) will host a Smithsonian Museum on Mainstreet exhibit, entitled Voices and Votes: https://www.sites.si.edu/s/topic/0TO1Q000000cTOZWA2/voices-and-votes-democracy-in-america.
Join Artworks for the Voices and Votes Brownbag Lunch Session where Rhonda Craig, President of Detroit League of Women Voters will present the African American Suffrage Movement: Fighting Against All Sides. Ms. Craig’s presentation offers a brief synopsis of the work of African American women in the suffrage movement who had to fight the male white establishment, white suffragists, and even African American men in the struggle for the right to vote. This virtual event is an hour-long with time for questions at the end of the hour.
Artworks is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that offers programming to bring the arts to life in the Mecosta County area. They offer educational programs, summer art camps, a foreign film series, book clubs, and other ways to become involved in their creative community. The mission and vision of Artworks is to vitalize the community through the arts and humanities to become the leading resource and creative force for the arts in Michigan.
LWV of Michigan Biennial Convention (May 21-22, 2021)
[May 21-22, 2021] Defending Democracy is the timely theme for the League of Women Voters of Michigan’s 2021 Biennial Convention. Although this year’s convention will be virtual, it will include all the features you are used to seeing at an in-person convention: plenaries, workshops, awards, panel discussions…even a silent auction. We will miss seeing you in person, but we know this is the best way to protect the safety of our members.
While the Detroit League has four convention voting delegates, it is important to note all League members are invited and encouraged to attend. The convention registration fee is $75 for a voting delegate and $35 for any non-voting member. To ensure convention materials and meeting links (i.e., links to plenary sessions, workshops, and panel discussions) are emailed to you prior to the start of the convention, Registration Deadline is May 10.
Although different for the categories of registrants (voting delegates and non-voting members), the convention’s two platforms will provide full access to plenary sessions, workshops, and panel discussions. We hope a lot of you can join us as we conduct League business and have some learning opportunities along the way.
Nominations for the League’s principal awards and the “Belle Ringer” awards are being accepted through April 15. This is a chance for local Leagues to recognize the hard work that dedicated members have done these past few years. For more information about the Awards packet as well as information about the convention’s Silent Auction, go to https://lwvdetroit.org/lwvmi-2021-biennial-convention/ on the About Us webpage.
2021 Past Events
Women’s Informal Network (WIN)
23rd Women’s History Month Celebration, Honoring The Most Influential African American Women in Metropolitan Detroit
On March 27, 2021, Women’s Informal Network (WIN) hosted its annual Women’s History Month Celebration, honoring The Most Influential African American Women in Metropolitan Detroit. These inspirational women were honored for their exemplary success in their chosen professions, leadership qualities, and community involvement. The theme of the event was Valiant Women of the Vote: Refusing to Be Silenced with Keynote Speaker, Rhonda Craig, Esq., President of the League of Women Voters of Detroit. For a list of honorees, please see the flyer below.
Women’s Informal Network (WIN), a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization, has been empowering African American women in metropolitan Detroit since 1992. For more information about WIN, visit their website at https://www.womensinformalnetwork.com.
Free Webinar on MI Redistricting and Communities of Interest (March 24, 2021)
This year, the new Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission (MICRC) is tasked with drawing new district maps for legislative and congressional districts in Michigan. Among the criteria for the new district maps, “Communities of Interest” is one of the top priorities. However, communities of interest are not clearly defined and could be composed of a wide range of groups, including affiliations and interests such as demographics, religion, business and industry, education, and more.
This webinar provided participants with an overview of the redistricting process, including work done by the University of Michigan Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy on defining communities of interest. Three organizations deeply involved in this process talked to participants about the work they are doing throughout the state to identify communities of interest that exist. The webinar was an opportunity for local government officials and staff to learn how their unit of government might work with residents in their community to encourage their participation in the redistricting process and understand how best to advocate for communities of interest of which they may be part. Speakers of note were as follows:
- Tom Ivacko, Executive Director of the University of Michigan Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy
- Nancy Wang, Executive Director, Voters Not Politicians
- Mariana Martinez, Director of Civic Engagement Initiatives, Michigan Nonprofit Association
- Susan Smith, Vice President, League of Women Voters of Michigan
DPL/LWV Collaborative Series: MI Independent Redistricting Commission
On March 9, 2021, the Detroit Public Library and Detroit League of Women Voters offered another virtual presentation in their 2021 collaborative series with the first-ever discussion with the MI Independent Redistricting Commission, who presented a history of the commission as well as where they are in their current deliberations and their timeline to redraw the electoral districts in Michigan. One of our Detroit League members has been monitoring the Commission on behalf of the State League and she reported on how the Commission is functioning.
To review this recorded event, click this link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1X6Ah9nav63Va77OQM76Uv77yOhgUbryk/view?ts=604b9fa6
For more information on this past event, refer to the flyer below.
New Detroit’s Town Hall Series: Voter Preparedness and Suppression Part II
October 23, 2020 ⏤ New Detroit’s Town Hall Series, “Content and Conversations on Race” in partnership with Bridge Detroit has a new topic: “Voter Preparedness and Voter Suppression.” Special guests include Hassan Jaber, President & CEO of ACCESS, Rana Elmir, Deputy Director of the ACLU of Michigan and moderator, Heaster Wheeler, Assistant Secretary of State.
Watch the recording by clicking on the following link: https://www.facebook.com/newdetroit/videos/1530458723814765
“VOTE” Zoom Backgrounds
Use these “VOTE” backgrounds for your Zoom platform. Follow instructions below to add a virtual zoom background.
- Copy and paste background to your desktop.
- Sign in to Zoom desktop client.
- Click Settings (in profile, top right corner).
- Click Virtual Background (left menu).
- In Choose Virtual Background, click ✛ to add an image.
Courtesy of LWV of Minneapolis. For more information, click this link: https://lwvmpls.org/i-voted-zoom-backgrounds/.
Webinar on Candidate & Absentee Ballot Info
Tuesday, October 13, 2020 6:00-7:00pm
Virtual Town Hall: New Voting Rights
Look here for information on new voting laws in the state of Michigan.
Informational Video: Absentee Voting
As part of their Voting 101 series, Get Out The Vote (GOTV) and the City of Southfield, MI, produced a voter informational video about Absentee Voting. Click here to view the video.
Virtual Town Hall: Census 2020
The 2020 Census counts every person living in the United States and five U.S. territories. In mid-March, homes across the country began receiving invitations to complete the 2020 Census. Once the invitation arrives, you should respond for your home in one of three ways: online, by phone, or by mail. When you respond to the census, you’ll tell the Census Bureau where you live as of April 1, 2020.
● Click here for the link to frequently asked questions about the Census, such as what the census form looks like and what questions it asks.
Virtual Town Hall: Citizens Redistricting Commission⏤The Answer to Gerrymandering
Every 10 years following the U.S. Census, district lines for political offices must be redrawn in states across the country to accurately reflect their population. In Michigan, a randomly selected commission of citizens is responsible for drawing U.S. Congressional and Michigan State House and Senate district lines. Voters amended the state constitution in the November 2018 general election to make citizens — not legislators or special interests — responsible for drawing district lines (called “redistricting”). The commission will be composed of 13 randomly-selected Michigan registered voters: four who affiliate with the Democratic Party, four who affiliate with the Republican Party, and five who do not affiliate with either major political party.