Wednesday, November 5, 2008

It's a new day in the USA!

As Involved Voters, we can be proud of the time and effort we put into getting ourselves informed and helping to inform others about the issues and candidates at the national, state and local level.

We have voted our hopes instead of our fears. And I hope we have closed the door on the kind of sleazy campaigning based on lies and personal attacks that was so evident in many of the Republican campaigns this cycle.

Our work continues as we make our voices heard. We need to let our elected officials know what we think, and urge them to work for what's best for all of their constituents.

I recommend reading both McCain's concession speech and Obama's victory speech for their thoughts about how we can move beyond the election and face our current and future challenges.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Voting hopes not fears

You can count me among those who won't be scared into voting for Republicans in the General Election. I've done my research, checked the facts and it's the Democrats who look good to me.

From Barack Obama and Joe Biden at the top of the ticket, through Mark Schauer for Congress in the 7th district and Pam Byrnes for State Representative, we're blessed with excellent candidates. I'm convinced that they will work to make sure our country and state get through these challenging times in the best possible shape. The Democrats running for Washtenaw County offices will do the same for the county.

There are great candidates on the non-partisan section of the ballot, too. One whom I think deserves special mention is Judge Diane Marie Hathaway, a candidate for Michigan Supreme Court Justice who will bring much-needed change. She is tough, fair and impartial, and will protect middle-class families and fight special interests.

It's unfortunate that the campaign which is now drawing to a close has brought out the worst in many Republican candidates and campaigners. I'm hoping that on November 5 we will put all the ugliness behind us and unite to do the important work that lies ahead.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tips for a smooth Election Day, Nov 4

My wish for Election Day, November 4 is that when it's over we'll learn that every U.S. citizen who is registered to vote was able to have her or his voice heard by casting a valid vote, in person at the polls or by absentee ballot. Perhaps my wish is a bit unrealistic, but it's my wish just the same.

Here’s what I think we can do to help make the voting and ballot counting process go smoothly, despite what is likely to be a record voter turnout:

Check to make sure you are registered. Go to, click on "Are You Registered?" and enter your information by name or driver's license number. If you are registered, you will see a message confirming it and your polling place will be shown along with other relevant information.

Have you moved recently? If so, please note that registered Michigan voters who have moved within 60 days of the election may still vote at their previous address if they did not register to vote at their new address by the October 6 deadline. This also applies to voters whose homes have been foreclosed upon. Voters in default on their mortgages but living in their homes may still vote without restriction.

Before you go to vote, preview your ballot at by using the "Are You Registered" button and then clicking "View My Sample Ballot" on the page that comes up. Write down your choices and take them with you to the polling place.

If you can arrange it and afford it, ask for a day off so that you won’t have to vote during the most crowded times, or so that you can help others get to the polls by arranging rides or babysitting for them.

If you have a flexible schedule, go to the polls mid-morning or mid-afternoon to reduce the crowds for those who are trying to vote before or after work.

Request an absentee ballot if you are eligible - anyone 60 years or older is automatically eligible, complete it and mail it in right away. Absentee ballots count the same as those filled out at polling places. If you are a first-time voter, be sure to visit and click the "Absentee Voting" button for information about your situation.

If it's very near election day and you still have your absentee ballot and are planning to use it, make sure that you or someone you've authorized gets it to the clerk at the location printed on the return envelop before election day if you possibly can. If for some reason you decide to go to the polling place to cast your vote on Election Day, take your absentee ballot with you.

Take ID when voting in person. Take your driver's license, state ID card or other valid photo ID with you to your polling place. Go to and click on the "Voter ID" button to find out what kinds of photo ID are acceptable.

At your polling place, remember that no campaigning is permitted within 100 feet of the polling place. That means that you’ll need to make sure all campaign clothing, buttons and literature are out of sight while you are inside that 100-feet limit.

And, please turn off your cell phone as soon as you enter the voting area and refrain from making or receiving calls until you are outside again. Yes, talking on the phone about the candidates or proposals is considered campaigning, and ringing cell phones are likely to distract fellow voters and slow things down.

If you encounter any problems at the polls, be patient with the election inspectors who are there to help voters and see that the election laws are followed. There are procedures, some of them time-consuming for the voter, that must be followed in cases such as when a "provisional ballot," rather than a regular ballot must be used. If you make a mistake on your ballot, ask for assistance right away and you’ll be able to correct it.

If we all take the time to get ready and with some good luck, we'll have a smooth, clean election November 4.

(I'm reprinting the above in case you missed my letter on this topic in the Chelsea Standard and Dexter Leader on October 9, 2008.)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Republicans' fake claims of impending voter fraud

It is entirely unjustified to point to a relative handful of problematic voter registration cards out of millions collected and scream "danger! vote fraud!" If someone who was hired to register voters cheats the organization that hired them by faking cards with names and addresses they've made up or copied from the phone book, what you get is useless registrations - not fraudulent votes.

In the words of Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo:
Let's be clear about what this is. These are random stories about fake registrations. The Drudges and Fox scoundrels of the world seem to think that if someone fills out a voter registration card for Mickey Mouse, that Mickey Mouse might show up and cast a vote they're not entitled to cast. It doesn't, and there is zero evidence of any voter fraud or anything that would make voter fraud more likely. The level of lying, bad faith or at best ignorance of the people making these claims is really beyond imagining. This isn't vote fraud. There's no evidence of vote fraud. Nothing. This is an effort of a losing political party to a) lay the groundwork for challenging their defeat at the polls b) lay the groundwork to pass laws to make it harder for poor people and minorities to vote.
I'm disappointed that some people who claim to be real journalists seem unable to see through the fake outrage about voter registration irregularities. We need to focus on the potentially much greater problem of people who are eligible to vote being purged from voter rolls and challenged at the polls.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Does "Maverick" equal "Mean Spirited"?

Shame on John McCain and Sarah Palin. In TV ads and on the campaign trail, they've been whipping up fear and hatred of their opponents. Where are the positive statements with specifics about how they would address the issues that are important to us? It would be fitting for Senator McCain to be judged by his own words from the 2000 Presidential Primary campaign.
MCCAIN: "Uh, I, I just have to rely on the good judgment of the voters not to buy into these negative attack ads. Sooner or later, people are going to figure out if all you run is negative attack ads you don't have much of a vision for the future or you're not ready to articulate it." [The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, 2/21/2000]

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Senator Obama explains why we need a rescue plan

Here's a link to Senator Obama's address to the US Senate before yesterday's vote on the bill to rescue our financial system.

Senator Obama's explanation is the best one I've heard. He convinced me that "this is not just a Wall Street crisis, it's an American crisis. And it's the American economy that needs this rescue plan."

After laying out just what is at stake, Senator Obama gave a realistic assessment of the difficulties ahead and expressed his confidence that we, the American people, are up to the task of setting things right. He said:
I do not think this is going to be easy. It's not going to come without costs. We are all going to need to sacrifice. We're all going to need to pull our weight, because now, more than ever, we are all in this together. That's part of what this crisis has taught us.

But in the end of the day, there's no real separation between Wall Street and Main Street. There's only the road we're traveling on as Americans. And we will rise or fall on that journey as one nation and as one people.

I know that many Americans are feeling anxiety right now about their jobs, about their homes, about their life savings. But I also know this -- that we can steer ourselves out of this crisis, that we are always have.

During the great financial crisis of the last century, in his first fireside chat, FDR told his fellow Americans that: "There is an element in the readjustment of our financial system more important than currency, more important than gold, and that is the confidence of the people themselves." Confidence and courage are the essentials of success in carrying out our plan. Let us unite in banishing fear. Together we cannot fail. We cannot fail -- not now, not tomorrow, not next year.

This is a nation that's faced down war and depression, great challenges and great threats. And at each and every moment, we have risen to meet up these challenges -- not as Democrats, not as Republicans, but as Americans -- with resolve and within confidence, with that fundamental belief that here in America, our destiny is not written for us, it's written by us. That's who we are and that's the country I know we can be right now.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Republican Joe Schwartz endorses Mark Schauer for Walberg's seat

I remember Joe Schwartz's days as an excellent public servant. Until 2006 he was our 7th district representative in Congress. Then the "Club for Growth" ran Tim Walberg against him in the primary election with the same kind of misleading ads it's using against Mark Schauer this time around.

They fooled a lot of people in 2006. So, I'm glad to hear that Joe Schwartz is doing his part to prevent a repeat by endorsing Mark Schauer as the best candidate to represent the real interests of the 7th district. Here's a link to Schwartz's announcement.

I urge you to do your part in making sure we don't get fooled again - spread the word that Mark Schauer is OUR candidate.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What would a "Main Street" rescue package look like?

I'm pretty convinced now that it's a good thing that Congress didn't pass the big bailout bill yesterday. We know now that there's no way "Club for Growth" Republicans like our own Tim Walberg will permit spending money to benefit the middle class or re-regulating the financial system.

Here's a link to an article by Dean Baker at Talking Points Memo. What he says about the root of the problem being the dramatic loss of the home equity we have been using to get credit for our purchases makes sense to me. I agree with his proposed solutions: have the federal government buy direct equity stakes in the failing institutions to provide them with capital, and send money to state and local governments to use for infrastructure projects and other expenditures to stimulate the economy. This approach seems to me to be much more "Main Street"-friendly.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Trust Obama & Biden to Lead in Reforming the US Fiancial Systems

What a mess our financial system is in! And John McCain has been contributing to it all the time he's been in the Senate by voting consistently for deregulation. (Can we call that one year of experience repeated 25 times as it concerns finance?) In choosing Sarah Palin as his running mate, he has done nothing to shore up the economic leadership credentials of the ticket.

On the other hand, Barack Obama and Joe Biden are leaders who have shown excellent judgment in support of rebuilding the middle class in America. They understand just how complex the current financial crisis is and what the Executive Branch can and cannot do to address the issues. In addition, the Democratic Party's track record on the economy is far better than the Republican Party's. If you'd like to see charts and graphs that show this, here's a link to an article by Reed Hunt at the blog Talking Points Memo.

It's my opinion that Barack Obama and Joe Biden have the qualities of character most needed to navigate the rough waters we're in. To get a sense for what they are thinking, read the transcript of Obama's September 17 speech in Elko, Nevada and his remarks today calling for bipartisanship to address the crisis and craft a plan for Main Street as well as Wall Street.

Update: September 24 - McCain's knee-jerk reaction to the debate between Congress and the Bush administration about how to deal with the financial crisis: Suspend his campaign, go to Washington (where he has no official role in the negotiating), and cancel Friday's first debate with Obama. I agree with this article by Joe Klein - it's a gimmick.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Getting ready to vote in the General Election - Registration, Absentee Ballot

First, make sure you are registered to vote. The deadline for registration is October 6 for the November 4 General Election. Go to the Secretary of State's web site and make sure you are registered and your address is correct.

If you are not registered to vote yet and want to vote using an absentee ballot, download both the Voter Registration form and the Absentee Ballot Request from the Secretary of State's web site and take them in person to the clerk's office of your city or township during their posted hours of operation.

If you are registered but have never voted in person at your designated polling place before, download the Absentee Ballot Request from the SoS website and take it in person to the clerk's office of your city or township during their posted hours of operation.

If you are registered and have voted at your designated polling place in the past, you can mail your Absentee Ballot Request form to the clerk of your city or township.

Did you know that if you are 60 years old or older by November 4, you can cast an absentee ballot for that reason alone? Or, if your work takes you to a community that is a distance from the one you live and vote in and there is a chance your work could keep you away from the community you vote in during polling hours on election day, consider requesting an absentee ballot.

Here's the list of all categories for requesting an absentee ballot plus some additional info from the Michigan Secretary of State's office:

"The statutory grounds on which you can base a request to vote absentee are:

□ I expect to be absent from the community in which I am registered for the entire time the polls are open on election day.
□ I am physically unable to attend the polls without the assistance of another.
□ I cannot attend the polls because of the tenets of my religion.
□ I have been appointed an election precinct inspector in a precinct other than the precinct where I reside.
□ I am 60 years of age or older.
□ I cannot attend the polls because I am confined to jail awaiting arraignment or trial.

Your request for an absentee voter ballot must be in writing and can be submitted to your city or township clerk. (For assistance in obtaining the address of your city or township clerk, see Your request must include one of the six statutory reasons stated above and your signature. You must request an absentee voter ballot by mailing the online application, with a letter or post card, or you can obtain a pre-printed application form at your local clerk's office. Requests to have an absentee voter ballot mailed to you must be received by your clerk no later than 2 p.m. the Saturday before the election."

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

McCain's sleazy ads crowd out real issues

How can John McCain say he approves those ads?! What is he trying to accomplish? The ads seem designed to deceive and divide people. Here's some analysis from Steve Benen at the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.

There is a clear strategy emerging (from the McCain camp) for the campaign's homestretch. The more the McCain campaign comes up with new disgusting attacks and blatant lies, the more the Obama campaign has to respond. To leave attacks unanswered, or obvious distortions unacknowledged, would be a mistake. At the same time, the more time the Obama campaign has to respond to McCain's sleaze, the less time Obama has for his own message.

In other words, if Obama responds to McCain's sleaze, McCain benefits. If Obama ignores it, McCain benefits.

Remember, McCain's own campaign manager (said) last week, "This election is not about the issues." And the only way to ensure it's not about the issues is to run nauseating ads...
As Involved Voters, I think it's time we said "enough is enough," turned off these ads and started asking how the candidates will address the issues we care about.

For example, today I had the good fortune to attend a gathering of about 50 people at which Susan Rice, an expert on foreign policy and adviser to Barack Obama spoke. She laid out clearly the differences between McCain's "worse than Bush" approach to dealing with Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, China, etc and Obama's 21st century approach based on knowledge of the complex world we live in. Good solid information on the issues is out there; but we sure won't be getting it from "info-tainment" TV or McCain's campaign ads.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

This election IS about the issues!

The texts of both the Democratic and the Republican Party Platforms are now available. You'll need Adobe Acrobat software, which can be downloaded for free, to read them.

Involved Voters know that researching party platforms is an important way to determine in what direction the administration of a presidential candidate will take the country.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Good at politicking, bad at governing

John McCain says one thing with his words and another with his actions. His choice of Sarah Palin for VP is an example. Palin is a poster-child for a large part of what's been wrong with the Republican Party for the last eight years. She's been pretty good at getting herself elected, but has governed poorly. We all know people who can claim some executive experience, but were basically incompetent in their positions. Remember "Helluva job, Brownie"?

How can McCain claim to represent the kind of change America needs when he has selected a person who as mayor and governor fired people because they weren't sufficiently loyal to her; as mayor considered getting books she didn't like banned from the library, was threatened with recall and left her town in debt when she ran for lieutenant governor (and lost); and campaigned for governor in support of earmarks like "the bridge to nowhere" but dropped that project once in office, instead taking the federal money and using it for her own pet projects - some of dubious value. Now, in her stump speeches, she continues to include a line bragging that she told Congress 'Thanks. But no thanks' to the Bridge to Nowhere when the statement is a flat out lie.

There's no denying that Sarah Palin is likable in much the same way as President George W Bush has been. But, there are too many things about the way Sarah Palin has governed and about her mind-set that remind me of the worst things about him. This, combined with McCain's record of voting with Bush's positions 90% of the time, leads me to believe that the McCain-Palin ticket will keep the country headed in the wrong direction.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Questioning John McCain's Judgment

Why did John McCain pick Sarah Palin as his choice for VP? It's looking more and more like she was not properly vetted, and that the choice was based entirely on political factors such as her potential to appeal to those on the far, far right on social issues.

Here are some things that have surfaced since McCain made the announcement of Palin as his running mate:
...Palin had actually supported, not opposed, the Bridge to Nowhere; that the true scope of the "Troopergate" scandal she's enmeshed in is a wee bit larger than she fessed up to; that she raised taxes and public debt substantially as mayor of Wasilla; that she supported a windfall profits tax on oil companies as governor of Alaska; and that she's skeptical about human contributions to global warming.

McCain's team talked to very few people in Alaska who knew Palin, didn't do much (any?) archival research on her, and McCain himself had barely even met her before he offered her the job.

So why did she get the nod? Hard to say. George Bush met with Vladimir Putin for couple of hours back in 2001 and immediately announced that "I looked the man in the eye. I was able to get a sense of his soul." McCain, likewise, after campaigning with Sarah Palin for a few hours on Saturday, went on TV the next day to announce, "She's a partner and a soulmate."

...(T)his is vintage McCain at work. His choice of Palin was naive, cynical, reckless, and impulsive.
- quote from blogger Kevin Drum in a 9-1-08 post

McCain's recklessness and impulsiveness were also on display in his reaction to the Russia-Georgia situation. One gets the sense that he will "shoot first, ask questions later."

He seems to lurch from one seeming (to him) crisis to another. McCain's decisions to go to Mississippi to check on preparations for hurricane Gustav and also put the the plans for the Republican National Convention on hold show his tendency to make snap decisions, skipping what could be useful consultation with others who are affected. It reminds me a bit of lighting "fires" so you look like a hero when you put them out.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Barack Obama's Acceptance Speech for Involved Voters

The Democratic Convention featured many great speeches, but if you only have time to read the full text of one, let it be Barack Obama's. Here's a link to the entire speech.

To watch it online, try the Obama campaign site for a continuous version of the full speech or see it in segments on YouTube.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Follow the Democratic Convention online

Whether you want to watch the Convention in real time or just review the highlights, a good place to start is the special Democratic Convention web site.

One thing that draws me to this site is that I consider the absence of network and cable talking heads to be a big plus. On the downside, you might need to download and install a couple of new media player gadgets for your browser.

Get to know Joe Biden, Obama's VP pick

Barack Obama's selection of Senator Joseph Biden of Delaware as his running mate shows that Obama is serious about strengthening the middle class and ensuring a secure America. Biden's working class roots, ability to overcome adversity, devotion to his family, knowledge of foreign policy, and personal qualities such as sense of humor and friendliness make him a strong choice for VP.

Involved voters can learn more about Joe Biden at his US Senate web site.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Real McCain

Most working families today do not have homes that have anywhere near 10 rooms. John McCain has 10 houses. Many working people in America have to work two and three jobs to provide for their families and pay their car loans. John McCain hops on a private jet. Is it any wonder why McCain champions a George Bush agenda of cutting taxes for corporations and the wealthy, helping oil companies turn record profits, and leaving working families to fend for themselves? McCain's velvet world leaves him utterly unprepared to make the tough choices we need to restore the middle class and ensure that everyone in America has quality, affordable health insurance.

-Andy Stern, President, Service Employees International Union (SEIU)

"John McCain is soaring to new heights of hypocrisy on his wife's personal jet. He flies around the country bent on duping the public into believing he's "one of them," a regular guy who can empathize with Americans facing an overwhelming economic crush. What's more, he disparages those who oppose his ridiculous policy proposals as "elitist." But who's the real elitist? The REAL McCain is a multimillionaire who owns ten luxurious homes. (My note: Purchases made possible by his wife's wealth.) The REAL McCain backs President Bush's tax cuts for big corporations. The REAL McCain empathizes only with the interests of our nation's wealthy minority, not its money-strapped majority. But far too many are buying into McCain's deceit because the corporate press won't present the whole picture."
- Bob Greenwald of Brave New Films (an alternative media outlet)

Here's a link to The Real McCain videos.

We need Mark Schauer for the 7th District

Mark Schauer is our antidote for two years of Tim Walberg.

Walberg has shown dogged devotion to the policies of "The Club for Growth" and the Bush Administration for the past two years - he's served them well at our expense! Mark Schauer has been a public servant with an excellent reputation among his Michigan constituents for a dozen years. Mark "gets it" - he's a leader who believes in investing in Michigan and its citizens and works to make our government serve us well.

If you don't know Mark yet, I encourage you to find out more about him by visiting the Mark Schauer for Congress web site.

Friday, August 15, 2008

The book "Obama Nation" is an Abomination!

Jerome Corsi, the guy who wrote the "Swiftboat Veterans" book, is back again. This time with a book full of lies about Barack Obama. The Obama campaign has issued a 40 page rebuttal. You can find it on the Obama '08 website. It's hard to believe that the book is listed as non-fiction! But, I guess that's how they list books that are "opinion" pieces written as hatchet jobs by people with not-so-hidden agendas.

It's my sincerest hope that Involved Voters will spread the word that the kind of campaigning we saw from the Republicans in the 2004 election will not be tolerated this time - and that the average voter is ready to say, "We won't be fooled again!"

Friday, August 8, 2008

Image versus Reality: John McCain - Update

While reading posts on one of my favorite political blogs, Talking Points Memo, I came across an article by an Arizona reporter who has been following John McCain since before his "Keating Five" days. Please ask everyone you know who is considering voting for John McCain to read this. It's more evidence that he fails the test when it comes to the character traits most Americans want to see in their president.

Here's the link:

Update: John McCain's reaction to Russia's invasion of Georgian territory is an example of some traits of his that make me extremely uncomfortable about his suitability in the areas of national security and foreign policy.

Please take a look at this post from the Democracy Arsenal blog for details.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Results of August 5 Primary

Lima Township's Involved Voters (314 out of 2381 registered voters) turned out for the August 5 primary. The unofficial results for Lima Township are available at the Washtenaw County Elections web site.

A big "Thanks!" to everyone who took the time to find the Democratic Precinct Delegate section of the ballot and cast a vote for me.

You can find the results for all of Washtenaw County by using this index link.

Today marks the beginning of the General Election campaign. So please send email to limatowndem (email address at the top right of this page) to let me know what information about candidates, issues, etc, you would like to see posted on this blog.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Tuesday, August 5, is Primary Day

Primary elections provide important opportunities for Involved Voters to make their voices heard.

To find Primary information for your city or township in Washtenaw County, just go to WashtenawVotes and type in your address.

Attention, Lima Township residents:
* "When you vote in the Primary Election you will be nominating a United States Senator, Representative in Congress 7th District, and Representative in the State Legislature 52nd District.
* Washtenaw County Offices will include Prosecuting Attorney, Sheriff, Clerk/Register of Deeds, Treasurer, Drain Commissioner and County Commissioner.
* For Lima Township you will be nominating the Supervisor, Clerk, Treasurer, two Trustees (there are candidates in the Republican section only), and Precinct Delegates (both Democratic and Republican). Remember you may vote in one partisan section only, you cannot “split your ticket”."
* For more information about the primary, go to the Lima Township Election Information web page.

I am on the Lima Township ballot, Democratic Party section, as a candidate for Precinct Delegate. The position is one that serves to connect Democratic voters in Lima Township with the Washtenaw County Democratic Party. The first official duty of the Precinct Delegate will be to participate in the August 16 County Convention. The purpose of this Convention will be to 1) elect Washtenaw County's representatives and alternates by Congressional District to the State Convention Committees; and 2) consider resolutions for forwarding to the State Convention Platform Committee.

Join other Involved Voters who will be making time on Tuesday, August 5, between 7 AM and 8 PM to vote in the Primary.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Monday, July 7 is the last day to register for the August 5 primary

The Michigan Secretary of State's web site has a Voter Information Center. You can find information about how to register to vote by clicking here. Primary elections are important. So please make sure you are registered. The SOS web site can help you check the status of your registration, too.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Dreaming of an IV-covered Township

Involved Voters (IVs) - I'm hoping there will be lots of them in Lima Township this election season.

Involved Voters know that there is a Primary Election coming up on Tuesday, August 5. They know where to find information about who's running for which Federal, State and Local offices and they get to know the candidates.

This blog was inspired by my decision to put my name on the ballot for Democratic Precinct Delegate for Lima Township, Michigan. The decision was reinforced when I attended the Western Washtenaw Dems' "Meet the Candidates" forum yesterday evening (June 26) at the Chelsea Depot. I'll use this blog to share information with those of you who are aspiring IVs.

For starters: There are two Democratic candidates running for US Congress 7th District: Sharon Renier and Mark Schauer. Both have a lot to offer and you can learn about them at and