Expanding the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act


Voting Rights in Michigan

Equal access to voting is perhaps the most quintessential element of a democracy. The ability for every citizen to have an equal say in the formation of their government, regardless of social standing, is a right that was foundational to our Constitution. Given the enormous importance of this ability, one would expect there to be explicit constitutional protections at the state level as well as the federal. Unfortunately, this is far from the case. This is particularly true in Michigan, where recent measures by the state congress have actually seen attempts at enacting new restrictions on voting.

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The Affordable Care Act and Michigan

A recent move by members of Congress to vote on repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has left millions of U.S citizens at risk of losing healthcare coverage. While the issue has largely become a political talking point on both sides of the aisle, what often gets lost in the debate is the true level of impact, both positive and negative, this legislation has actually had. These numbers become especially important when considering where Michigan and other states should stand in the debate.

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Gerrymandering

Suppose you are applying for the position of CEO at a company. As part of the interview process, you must meet with ten of the company's shareholders for a Q&A session. Prior to the interview, you are given a list of every shareholder along with who their preferred applicant is for the position. You are then told you can select seven of the ten shareholders who will be present for your interview. Naturally, you pick seven shareholders who favor you and you get the job. The seven you selected, however, were out of a pool of 100 shareholders, only 40 of which thought you were the best candidate for the position. This means that despite only 40% of the company favoring you, you still got the job. In effect, this is what gerrymandering does to elections.

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The Gay Purge in Chechnya

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100. That’s the number of gay men that are estimated to have been abused, tortured, beaten, or killed by police forces in Chechnya since December of 2016, according to a report by Human Rights Watch, an independent advocacy group. Though these abuses first occurred in 2016, reports of them were not widely publicized until April of 2017, when a Russian opposition newspaper, Novaya Gazeta, published the story. Since then, news of the attacks has gained international attention with foreign leaders and advocacy groups calling on Chechnya and Russian president Vladimir Putin to conduct an investigation into the allegations. Despite the numerous reports filed by victims of the attacks, however, there have yet to be any convictions or even arrests of those responsible. The Russian Federal government insists this is because only anonymous reports have been made.

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The Problem with Chechnya