Michigan Democrats see 'record-breaking turnout' in midterm elections after Roe decision

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More than 56% of voters backed a constitutional amendment to protect abortion rights in the state.

More than 4.45 million Michigan residents made their voices heard in a record-setting midterm voter turnout, according to state election data. The previous record was set during the 2018 midterms, with a reported turnout of 4.34 million voters.

This year's election was the first major test of support for abortion rights in the state after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned its 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling in June.

"The historic, record-breaking turnout by Republican, Democratic and independent citizens demonstrates the faith they all have in the integrity, accuracy, and security of Michigan elections," Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said in a statement.

"In the months and years ahead, we will continue to build this nonpartisan pro-democracy coalition by inviting all voters, no matter their party affiliation, to observe the election canvass and audits and serve as election workers so they can witness firsthand the transparent and nonpartisan nature of our elections," Benson said.

After flipping both state legislative chambers and holding onto the governorship, Michigan Democrats will now have a trifecta in Lansing for the first time in almost 40 years.

Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer defeated Republican gubernatorial nominee Tudor Dixon with 54.5% of the vote, reflecting nearly 2.5 million voters.

"This victory reminds us all that the governor's office does not belong to any person or political party, it belongs to all of us — the people of Michigan," Whitmer said in her victory speech.

"Over the next four years, let's build a Michigan where every person is treated with dignity, can enjoy their personal freedom, and chart their own path toward prosperity," she continued. "I promise to be a governor for all of Michigan. I promise to work with anyone who wants to get things done and compete and win against anyone. We're going to move this state forward."

And with more than 95% of votes counted, 56.7% of voters backed Proposal 3, a constitutional amendment to protect abortion rights in the state.

"This is a historic victory for reproductive freedom that reinforces what we already know: The overwhelming majority of people in Michigan support reproductive freedom and voters will protect abortion access," ACLU of Michigan Legislative Director Merissa Kovach said in a statement. "We are grateful for every Michigan voter who showed they will not put up with politicians or policies that force pregnancy on people and made it clear that they will protect the power of women and people who need abortion care to make the best medical decisions for themselves and their families."

Michigan Democrats also won complete control of the state legislature for the first time since 1983, with a 56-54 majority in the state House, and a projected 20-18 edge in the state Senate. Democratic state Sen. Winnie Brinks made history as the upper chamber's first female majority leader, and Democratic state Rep. Joe Tate also made history as the first Black speaker of the state House in Michigan's 185-year history.

"I am honored to be elected by my peers to lead the first Democratic Majority in the Michigan Senate since 1983," Brinks said in a statement. "With 12 women and eight men, the Senate Democrats make up a dynamic, diverse caucus that is ready to work with Governor Whitmer to make the Great Lakes State a place where people can thrive and I'm excited to lead this talented team of legislators."

Michigan voters made history at both the state and federal levels. Entrepreneur and Democratic state Rep. Shri Thanedar will become the first Indian American elected to Congress from Michigan. Thanedar, who won 71% of the vote, will represent Michigan's newly drawn 13th Congressional District.

Published with permission from The American Independent Foundation.