You are invited to join us today, Feb. 9, for MFE's weekly Zoom at Noon. You won't want to miss the talented Merissa Hamilton from Freedomworks in Arizona as she shares tips to election integrity success in local politics. Learn firsthand what Michigan county task forces are accomplishing...from investigating to litigating, and from following the money to learning the rules. Together the coalition is changing the playing field in order to make our state's elections fair again.
See how you can take action to restore integrity to Michigan's elections. Register and check out the agenda below.
REMINDER: The MFE coalition operates under 501 (c)3 non-profit guidelines. These prohibit us from any overt political or candidate-related speech and applies to any comments made on the call or in the chat. Election integrity only, please. Thank you for understanding.
For election integrity,
Patrice Johnson, Chair
Sorry no press.
MFE Coalition Task Force Meeting
Michigan Fair Elections
12:00 PM to 1:00 PM, February 16, 2023, via Zoom. Link:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
Patrice Johnson, Chair, Mich. Fair Elections and Pure Integrity Michigan Elections
--Call to action
--Freedomworks: How to affect local politics
--Following the money
--SOS and Benson comments before Senate Elections committee
--Ingham research and where it is leading
Ned Jones (after 12:30)
--National working groups
--Campus satellite FOIAs & findings
Discussion & new business
Next Task Force Coalition Meeting: Thurs., Feb. 23, 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM meeting. Recurring weekly link. Please download and import the following iCalendar (.ics) files to your calendar system: Please download and import the following iCalendar (.ics) files to your calendar system. Weekly: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/tZEucOqopz8sGdNYKcvyh8hDELFWbG9eNdwz/ics?icsToken=98tyKuGtrTwpGt2RthqARpwMA4_Cb_TxmCldjadzpTTmFTlbOgvSE85kBbBYSd3-
From Margie: Try this QR Code on for size.
You should be able to put this on your business cards or print to stickers for flyers. A point of the phone will take folks directly to or volunteer sign up area. Thank you, Margie!
News & Views:
--Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson wants as much as $45 million from the Legislature this year to implement the main four provisions of Proposal 2, a package of voting reforms approved by voters in November that will require nine days of in-person early voting and 2,000 ballot drop boxes at municipal locations statewide.
“We hope that you’ll work with clerks and our team to provide predictable, sustainable, and efficient funding of our elections,” said Benson during a meeting last week of the House elections committee, where she stressed the need to “fully” fund elections.
Lawmakers and clerks tell Votebeat they are optimistic about the amounts Benson says she’ll request and are eager for more details.
Harrison Township Clerk Adam Wit, who also is the president of the Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks, said his organization hopes to get guidance soon from the state.
“That's pretty much all we’ve been talking about,” said Wit. “What's it going to look like in the [Upper Peninsula]? What’s it going to look like in metro Detroit? You gotta make sure you design a system that accommodates everybody.”
Most clerks want to know how much funding will be available to implement a new type of early voting in their districts, allowing voters to feed their ballots into tabulators just as they do on Election Day. Previously, voters’ only option to cast an early ballot in person was to go to a clerk’s office to request and complete an absentee ballot and leave it to be counted during election week.
Currently, it costs city, township, village, and county clerks $100 million annually to run elections, about $20,000 per precinct. It will run about $30 million to $45 million more to implement the new voting laws, Benson told lawmakers at the Capitol Tuesday and Wednesday. Benson has announced generalized breakdowns: Her slides, for example, specified that $3 million will be allotted for mailing absentee ballot applications and ballots, and $12 million will be set aside to purchase more drop boxes, and to secure them, so that one is available for every 15,000 registered voters. Benson will also have to make a presentation to the Michigan House and Senate appropriations committees before her request for the money moves forward. A hearing before the appropriations committee has not yet been scheduled.
State Rep. Ann Bollin, a Republican from Livingston County and a member of the state House Appropriations Committee, wants a further breakdown of the money needed to pay for the changes mandated by Proposal 2 before she determines whether Benson’s request is enough to appropriately implement them, which she said should be the Legislature’s number one priority.
She echoed Benson’s sentiment that elections have never been adequately funded in Michigan, and said she hopes that changes this year. “For many years I’ve advocated for funding for elections, and it’s kind of bringing it to a head now with the passage of this proposal.
Bollin, herself a former clerk for Brighton Township, said she will ask Benson how she came up with the financial estimates of the amounts needed to meet the needs of larger cities like Detroit.
“I want to know how Secretary Benson arrived at that number,” said Bollin. “I can’t imagine $20,000 is going to go the same length in metro Detroit as it is in the city of Brighton, city of Marquette, city of Alma… different communities. What’s her number based on?”
Oralandar Brand-Williams is a senior reporter for Votebeat. Contact Oralandar at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow the Money
By Ben Weingarten, RealClearInvestigations February 7, 2023 Amalgamated Bank, with just five branches across three cities, and a market value lower than the net worth of many an individual hedge fund honcho, would seem an unlikely mover and shaker in the world of Wall Street, let alone Washington, D.C.
“It’s a bank for an ideological movement.” amalgamatedbank.com Yet last fall, it successfully pressured colossal credit card companies Visa, Mastercard, and American Express to use the financial system to track and report gun purchases. Amalgamated is “more than a bank,” says Michael Watson of the Capital Research Center. “It’s a bank for an ideological movement.” This “ideological” bank holds $7 billion in deposits and manages or maintains custody of some $51 billion. And while that sounds like a great deal of money, it pales in comparison to financial institutions such as JP Morgan, with its $2.4 trillion in deposits, or the $8.6 trillion in assets managed by BlackRock. But Amalgamated’s outsized influence doesn’t flow from the size of its coffers. Rather, it’s explained by its role as cue to the wider corporate world given the major sources of that money – the Democratic Party, progressive activist groups, and major labor unions.
During political election cycles, such as at the end of the third quarter of 2022, upwards of $1 billion – or 17% of Amalgamated’s total deposits – come from Democratic campaigns, political action committees, and state and national party committees. Amalgamated is the commercial banker for the Democratic National Committee, along with Joe Biden and virtually every other 2020 presidential contender, and congressional leaders like Rep. Nancy Pelosi. All told, Amalgamated serves more than 500 political organizations – in addition to adjacent groups such as Color of Change and the Sierra Club.
As the New York Times said of Amalgamated, it is “the left’s private banker.”
PIME meeting this Saturday:
"Election Misinformation - Disinformation," join Patrick Colbeck for the latest information during the next live and in-person PIME meeting Feb. 11..