‘Votercade’ campaigns for voting rights in Ann Arbor

ANN ARBOR, MI – Bicycles Could Be Seen And “Protect Our Voice!” was heard through Kerrytown on Saturday afternoon.

A group of about 20 people and 15 cyclists traveled in a motorcade of voters, or “voter cades”, to raise awareness of the right to vote. Other cities across the country also participated in the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Action Day on May 8th.

“I am a firm believer in the For the People Act and I believed this event should be held,” said Cat Hadley, one of the organizers of the event. “In Michigan, we are faced with these voter suppression bills that may be hindering the country’s progress.”

The bills Hadley was referring to are the 39 electoral reform bills passed by the Michigan Senate Republicans in March 2021.

The 39 Bills Package covers topics such as controlling postal voting requests and counting, empowering election challengers to better monitor election activity, improving employee training, and much more. Two of these calculations are SB 273 and SB 286.

Senate Bill 273 adds new security requirements to absenteeism ballot boxes and requires approval by the Secretary of State and the Board of County Canvassers. Senate Bill 286 adds new requirements for ballot boxes. It would prohibit voters from using postal ballot papers after 5:00 p.m. the day before the election and prevent their use on election day.

Activists hoped to draw attention to the issues pending in the Michigan Senate. Jeff Irwin, Michigan State Senator, D-Ann Arbor, attended, saying he believed some of the 39 bills put in place would be seen as voter suppression.

Michigan State Senator Jeff Irwin (D) marches with people while riding a bike through Kerrytown, Ann Arbor, marching as the “Votercade” on Saturday, May 8, 2021 for the day of action to promote the voting rights of John Lewis. (Alie Skowronski / mlive.com) Alie Skowronski | The Ann Arbor News

“These bills are getting through to the Michigan Senate and I’ve decided to show my support for the voters,” said Irwin. “There will be valid voters in Michigan who will be turned away in the election if those Republican-submitted bills pass.”

The group marched from Wheeler Park, past Kerrytown Farmers Market, through downtown, and back into the park. The march was followed by speakers from the University of Michigan, the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice, the Ann Arbor Independent Police Oversight Commission and the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners.

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