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Friday, February 20, 2009

Click the Vote! Increasing Voter Turnout in Detroit with Online Voting using the City Clerk’s Office website.

One day were walking to an 8 mile Old Timers planning meeting, We were discussing upcoming elections that were coming up in 2009 for Mayor and City Council. We were on the corner of Chippewa and Cherrylawn streets when we ran into two neighborhood legends by the names of Oscar Baker and Wisker Hall. They were very busy but nice enough to stop by Johnson Recreation Center to see what was going on.

Former Representative Dr. Keith B. Stallworth had just got through giving a speech talking about the 4 upcoming elections in City of Detroit and the importance of voting. After we applauded his inspirational speech, Oscar, Wisker, Roscoe and Benjamin Drummer stopped for a minute to talk about the projected low voter turnout for all of the elections. Oscar asked us all a question “How do we get more people to vote?” Dr. Keith looked puzzled and asked Richard Clement his old school football teammate at Mumford High School back in the day about what to do.

“We need to run until we get tired, then get up and walk it off I said to Dr. Keith”

The question was so thought provoking that we agreed to send a text message to our friend Representative Cushingberry who was at Joe Louis Arena watching a Hockey game between the Detroit Red Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs. During the 2nd period a puck flew into the seats. While George ducked along with the fans, a child sitting behind him spilled his drink all over his hair. Instead of getting upset at the child a vision flashed across his head.

There were 16 candidates running for mayor and I was one of them. People were saying that they could not get to the polls on Election Day so, myself and City Clerk Janice Winfrey developed a solution to the problem. We allowed the citizens of the City to cast their vote using the Detroit City Clerk’s website. The online polls would be open for two weeks before Election Day in synchronization with the first day of absentee voting. You could click your vote until 8pm of Election Day and allowed to vote once as long as you were a valid registered voter.

During the candidates debate I was asked to speak by the moderator about online voting program that we developed. The moderator tried to end the debate but the candidate continued to speak. Look people, we can buy cars online, get your credit checked online, find a mate, get a rebate, plan a vacation anywhere in the nation, including making donations on the New Prospect Baptist Church website. And if I was elected to the job, I would help the City Clerk implement an online strategy to increase voter participation in Detroit and, serve as a template for the State of Michigan.

The candidate continued on with the force of James Earl Jones and the smoothness of Prince, mixed in with a little David Ruffin.

If I was elected to the job of Secretary of State, I would implement a statewide online voting system within 12 months. Look at what we have done already on our blog. Currently, I am in a close race with Dave Bing and Ken Cockrell for the job of Mayor of the City. A supporter in the crowd shouted, “It looks like he is taking Bing to the hoops”. The candidate smiled and a few Dave Bing supporters smirked.

Before things went any further Representative Cushingberry shared a fact with the audience regarding an election in Missouri in 2000. He said did you know that a John Ashcroft lost an election to a person on the ballot who had died? It was OK because he ended up getting a job as Attorney General with the Bush Administration. “No unemployment check for him” Cushingberry said and the crowd let out a big laugh.

I responded to my friends and constituents with a text message saying.

I am a candidate for Michigan Secretary of State because I will get more voters to participate!

Let it be and vote for me!

The candidate went on and on and on until the crowd let out a huge, earsplitting roar. George snapped out of the dream because Nick Lidstrom had fired a “one timer” slap-shot into the net from outside the blue line and the people went crazy!

Our friend snapped out of his trance and said to himself that he likes his job serving the people of the State of Michigan in Lansing advancing his constituent's needs. Furthermore, there was a Hockey Game to be addressed and being a big Detroit fan, the Wings needed my undivided attention. He bought the child another drink, the parents a vegetarian pizza and the Red Wings won the game.

Go Wings!

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