Plus: Oak Park creates a crowdfunding campaign for small businesses, and Camp Ramah in Canada shuts down for the summer in today’s coronavirus roundup.
Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced on Tuesday, May 19 that all registered Michigan voters will be receiving an application to vote by mail in the upcoming August and November elections. The decision was made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in order to reduce the risk of infection by having voters congregate at polling stations.
According to the press release, of the 7.7 million registered voters in the state, about 1.3 million are on the permanent absent voter list. The Michigan Department of State’s Bureau of Elections has ensured all remaining registered voters will receive an application.
“By mailing applications, we have ensured that no Michigander has to choose between their health and their right to vote,” Benson said in a press release. “Voting by mail is easy, convenient, safe, and secure, and every voter in Michigan has the right to do it.”
The application includes a letter with instructions from Benson. Once a voter signs their application, they can mail it or email a photo of it to their local clerk, whose contact information is included on the application. The application is also available for download at Michigan.gov/Vote. At the same website, voters can also register and join the permanent absent voter list so they always have the option to vote by mail.
President Donald Trump took to Twitter this morning in response to the state’s announcement, saying that “this was done illegally and without authorization by a rogue Secretary of State. I will ask to hold up funding to Michigan if they want to go down this Voter Fraud path!”
Breaking: Michigan sends absentee ballots to 7.7 million people ahead of Primaries and the General Election. This was done illegally and without authorization by a rogue Secretary of State. I will ask to hold up funding to Michigan if they want to go down this Voter Fraud path!..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 20, 2020
Benson responded back to Trump’s tweet telling the president that “we sent applications, not ballots. Just like my GOP colleagues in Iowa, Georgia, Nebraska and West Virginia.”
Hi! 👋🏼 I also have a name, it’s Jocelyn Benson. And we sent applications, not ballots. Just like my GOP colleagues in Iowa, Georgia, Nebraska and West Virginia. https://t.co/kBsu4nHvOy
— Jocelyn Benson (@JocelynBenson) May 20, 2020
Cities Vote on Cancellation of Dream Cruise 2020
The 2020 Woodward Dream Cruise, originally scheduled for August 15, is now facing the possibility of cancellation due to growing concerns regarding COVID-19.
The Detroit Free Press reported that on Monday, May 18, Birmingham city leaders voted 7-0 on a resolution to cancel the cruise. Huntington Woods followed on Tuesday voting 5-0 on the cancellation and the city of Ferndale is set to cast their votes next week.
All nine participating cities, which also include Pontiac, Berkley, Bloomfield Township, Royal Oak and Pleasant Ridge, are predicted to agree on the cancellation of the Dream Cruise.
The event that normally brings almost 1 million classic car fans from around the country, even including some from outside the United States, has officials worried that this event will turn into a hotspot of spreading COVID-19.
While officials are aware that many people still may come to drive their cars up and down the boulevard, they hope that with no special events permits issued, no official merchandise, no tents set up and no special parking that it will limit the amount of people on the streets and deter people traveling from outside the state of Michigan.
As of May 20, the Dream Cruise still has their website promoting the August event and showing the detailed map of the cities and the varying events it normally offers.
City of Oak Park Sets up Crowdfunding Campaign for Small Businesses
On May 13, the city of Oak Park started a crowdfunding campaign through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s crowdfunding website, Patronicity. In the past week, it has raised $1,085 for the city’s small businesses that have been forced to shut down or curtail operations due to COVID-19.
The city is partnering with Main Street Oakland County, another crowdfunding campaign, to support the downtown small business. For every dollar that is raised by the city of Oak Park, Main Street Oakland County will match it up to $4,000.
“Over the years, our small business community has provided flowers for a special occasion, a new suit for a big job interview, or even just a carryout dinner for a cozy night in,” the statement read. “They’ve sponsored city events, supported little league teams, and given back in countless other ways. Now, it’s time for us to be there for them. We hope you’ll join us in contributing to this important and valuable cause.”
You can donate by following the link to the Patronicity campaign.
Camp Ramah in Canada Closes for the Summer
Camp Ramah in Canada announced on Tuesday, May 19, that they will not be holding summer camp this summer due to Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario, announcing that no residential summer camps will be allowed to open in Ontario due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“While this is not surprising to us, it is, nonetheless, heartbreaking news. It brings home what we knew was nearly certain — that we would not be able to meet on the shores of Skeleton Lake this summer,” read the press release. “In the end, it was not our decision.”
The news comes just nine days after the camp announced the cancellation of the first session of summer camp that was set to begin on June 24. This year, they were looking forward to celebrating their 60th anniversary of Camp Ramah.
“Camp holds for each of us memories and hopes of our best lives; lives lived fully and richly, in vibrant Jewish community with those we love and trust,” read the statement. “Our hearts break thinking of all that was ‘supposed’ to happen this summer and will not. There is no way around it and no amount of creative alternative programming will make up for it — there is simply great loss.”
Next week, Camp Ramah will be sending out more information regarding the next steps, including refunds and donations, and information on the virtual programming they are implementing.
They will also be hosting a Zoom town hall event on Sunday, May 24 for families who have more questions.