Wednesday, March 10, 2010

How to Take Part in Historic Democratic Convention

The jobs of Michigan Secretary of State and Attorney General are vitally important for the state's residents.

Yes, the state's residents renew their drivers' licenses and get their license tabs from the secretary of state's office. But the office also makes sure that elections are carried out properly in the state. And that's crucial if a democracy is to live up to its name.

And the attorney general fights crime, and that's important. But used properly, the office can also be an advocate for consumers against corporations and can protect Michigan's precious environmental resources.

But too often, the election contests for these posts can short shrift in Michigan. Under state law, the major parties cannot nominate their candidates for these offices until late August. That leaves the candidates only a few months to try to put together statewide campaigns and visit as many of the state's 83 counties as they can.

But this year, the Michigan Democratic Party will try to heighten the visibility of these races by holding a special convention April 17 to endorse candidates for attorney general and secretary of state. The endorsed candidates will then be officially nominated in August, in keeping with state law, but they will have and extra four months to criss-cross the state and talk to voters about the importance of these jobs.

The candidates for secretary of state contending for the endorsement are Wayne State University law professor Jocelyn Benson and Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey. Seeking the attorney general endorsement are Farmington Hills attorney Richard Bernstein and Genesee County prosecutor David Leyton.

You can have a say in which candidates are endorsed at the April 17 convention if you are a party member by March 19. Memberships cost as little as $10 for retirees and students or $20 for others. Forms are available here.

The convention will be your chance to hear all the candidates in person and then voice your preference. Don't miss out on democracy in action!

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