Most years, my election blogs extol the value of our democracy, the need for an informed electorate ready to hold their candidates accountable for their words and actions throughout their time in the public eye. All that still matters, but this pandemic election year, the conversation has taken a turn that we just can’t stand for. We aren’t going to be bullied out of our votes, or our election

Our history is the story of people who have worked hard and sacrificed much to ensure that every American has the legal right to determine their representation by casting their vote. People have worked hard to ensure that everyone who can vote is able to vote without intimidation and without undue hardship.

Thanks to them, today people work in every town, cities large and small, everywhere around our state and nation to make sure that we are all able to cast a ballot and that those ballots are counted legally and fairly. Volunteers work hard at every election to make sure that polling places run smoothly so that those same things can take place without incident. There is no evidence that there is widespread voter fraud anywhere in Michigan or this country. Our voting system works.

I’m so proud of Michigan’s progress in making it easier, not more difficult, for people to cast their ballots. There is no need to risk anyone’s health or livelihood to vote. Recognizing that ballots can be mailed, delivered or cast in a polling place. That expanding the pool of people who are making our representative democracy work is good for that democracy. Anyone in our state can request a mail-in ballot or go to a polling place to cast a ballot on election day if that is what they prefer. And we can all rest assured that however we submit that ballot, it will be counted legally and fairly. This year, it might take a little longer to find out the results, but those results will be right and just and fair. There is no evidence that broader voting options create more voter fraud. Not in Michigan or elsewhere.

A colleague reminded me yesterday of something that I say all the time. That Michigan’s Children not only works directly with decision makers, but we work to help other people work directly with their decision makers. Not just because it is fun, but because it is critical to maintaining trust and buy-in with our systems, and the more voices involved in investment and policy decisions, the better our public policy. The same is true with voting, of course. When a larger group of people are involved in determining who will represent them, those representatives are better. They are more responsive to a larger group of constituents, they are encouraged to understand and represent a wider variety of perspectives.

The only election fraud I see this year are frauds who seek to intimidate us and our neighbors out of voting make by making us feel like there is no way our voice will make a difference.

We will all cast our ballots with pride in Michigan this election season, in whatever way is best for us. No one is going to bully us into doing otherwise.

Michele Corey, Vice President for Programs