The Michigan Midterms: a Fight for Abortion Rights, the Governorship and Congressional Tenure

Senior+Clara+Moss+prepares+to+register+to+vote+online.+This+is+part+of+the+Loy+Norrix+Young+Democrats+Schoolwide+voter+registration+drive.

Senior Clara Moss prepares to register to vote online. This is part of the Loy Norrix Young Democrat’s Schoolwide voter registration drive.

Owen Quayle, Assistant News Editor

As high schoolers begin to reach the age in which they are old enough to vote: the things that they can vote for begin to impact their lives in very real ways. The policies and positions at stake in this election and all elections to come will shape the state and country we live in. Regardless of party affiliation or moral beliefs, it is crucial that students use their most fundamental tool to shape their surroundings, the power to vote.

Key issues and proposals on the ballot

Proposal 3: Proposal 3 aims to protect Michigan residents’s access to reproductive care by amending the state constitution. 

If passed, this would not only cover abortion but would also protect contraceptives, parental care and postpartum care among other things. 

According to the Michigan Department of State, voting yes also would prevent the state from prohibiting any abortion that a medical professional deems vital to “protect the life or physical or mental health” of the patient in question. Additonally, it would prevent the state from prosecuting anyone for receiving or aiding someone in the process of getting an abortion. Voting no would uphold Michigan’s current stance on abortion which makes preforming an abortion a felony, punishable by four years in prison, Bridge MI reported. 

Proposal 1: This proposal would introduce term limits to state level lawmakers in Michigan. The proposed term limit is 12 years. 

This proposal would also introduce stronger financial disclosure rules for lawmakers including the governor, secretary of state, attorney general and all other state lawmakers. 

According to the Michigan Department of State, voting yes would mean requiring lawmakers to disclose a description of assets, any gifts or payments from registered lobbyists, and positions outside of their elected office. A no vote means that lawmakers could continue to not disclose their financial information and serve both 6 years in the house and 8 in the senate. 

Proposal 2: Voting yes on Proposal 2 would further solidify voting rights within the state of Michigan by amending the state constitution. 

According to the Michigan Department of State, these amendments would include adding 9 days of early voting, using state funded postage for absentee applications and ballots and providing a ballot box for every 15,000 voters in a municipality. Voting no would reject the proposed amendments.

 

Congressional Representative (4th district) 

Long time 4th district representative Fred Upton announced his retirement in April of 2022, leaving the Republican nomination open for the first time since his initial election in 1986. 

Attempting to take his place is Bill Huizenga, a Republican congressman who has represented Michigan’s 2nd district since 2011. According to Bridge MI, Huizenga is in favor of a balanced federal budget and lowering regulations on businesses.  He is also a strong supporter of further restricting abortion access. 

Huizenga’s opponent is Joseph Alfonso, a Democratic write-in candidate. Alfonso is a Marine Corp veteran and most recently worked for the inspections department in the city of Kentwood, Ballotpedia reported. 

According to Bridge MI, He supports focusing military spending on service members and their families, improving access to clean water, and reinforcing reproductive rights. 

Governor

Incumbent Governor Gretchen Whitmer is the democratic nominee for the office of Governor. Whitmer served as the minority leader in Michigan’s state senate from 2011-2015. 

Whitmer is the driving force behind Proposal 3, part of her promise to fight for abortion rights in Michigan. According to Bridge MI, another one of Whitmer’s proposed actions is an expansion of tax credit programs for low income workers and seniors. During the summer of 2022, she also pushed through a $19 billion school aid budget.

The Republican candidate for the office of governor is Tudor Dixon. Dixon has not previously held political office.

According to Bride MI, her previous work includes a daily news segment on Real America’s Voice, a right-wing associated streaming service, as well as an executive at her family’s steel firm.

Dixon is a strong opponent of legal abortion and is backed by Right to Life, an anti-abortion organization in Michigan. She has proposed a $1 billion plan to increase recruitment and training of police within the state. 

According to Bridge MI, she is also in support of a bill similar to the Florida Parent’s Right to Education Law being introduced in Michigan. The current law in Florida bans the teaching of any content related to gender or sexual idneity before 4th grade. .

Attorney general

Democrat Dana Nessel is running for her second term as Secretary of State. Prior to serving as Secretary of State, Nessel was an attorney on the case of Deboer v. Snyder, a case that found Michigan’s ban on same sex marriage unconstitutional. . 

According to Ballotpedia, during her term, Nessel founded the Hate Crimes Unit For the state. The Hate Crimes Unit has provided a hot line and has pledged to follow up with an independent investigation  on any viable tips that they receive via the Attorney General’s office. as well as serving as the prosecuting attorney during the highly publicized trial of Michigan State gymnastics coach Larry Nassar. 

Nessel’s opponent is Republican Matthew DePerno. DePerno, along with many of the other conservative candidates in this year’s race, gained traction in the aftermath of the 2020 election. Deperno alleges that issues with the voting machines caused results to skew the election for Joe Biden. From a policy standpoint, reproductive rights seem to be the center focus for Matthew DePerno. He has not only expressed his intent to uphold the 1931 abortion ban but has also suggested banning the contraceptive Plan B within the state, Ballotpedia reported.

Secretary of State

The incumbent Democratic candidate for Secretary of State is Jocelyn Benson. Benson first ran for the position in 2010, losing to then Secretary of State Ruth Johnson. Formerly, she served as the Dean of the Wayne State School of Law. 

 During her term, the Secretary of State’s office completed an expansion of its online services. According to Bridge MI, 60 percent of transactions (particularly applying for licenses and registering to vote among other things) are now taking place at a self-help station or online, compared to 28 percent the previous year. 

Benson’s opponent is republican Kristina Karamo. Karamo who, like Tudor Dixon, also has experience with conservative media, serving as a co-host for the right wing podcast “Right On The 14th.” She also serves on the Right to Life Black Leadership Committee. 

As secretary of state, Karamo would plan to continue to investigate the claims of election fraud raised during the 2020 presidential election. According to Bridge MI, she has also called for a close review of state voting machines in order to improve security.