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Reproductive rights issue drew Democrats to the polls

protestors holding signs on both signs of the abortion rights argument in an outdoor protest
Jodi Westrick
Michigan Radio
Protestors on both sides of the abortion rights argument hold signs at a "Bans Off Our Bodies" protest in Ann Arbor, Mich., May 14, 2022.

Democrats won control of the governor's mansion and both the State Senate and House of Representatives in Tuesday’s elections, a "trifecta" of state power that the party has not held in Michigan in 40 years.

The path to a majority in the State Legislature wasn’t a done deal for Democrats. Oakland University Political Science Professor David Dulio said the party was aided by a contentious ballot issue over reproductive rights that drew more Democratic voters to the polls.

Proposal 3 Results

“I think that issue being on the ballot and being such a heavy focus of the Whitmer campaign early on, plus the advertising that its allies did, really energized the base,” he said. “I think that that is what helped put some of those candidates on the Democratic side over the top in those close State House and State Senate races.”

Some of those close races were in newly drawn districts adopted in December 2021. The lines were drawn by the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission with the purpose of creating more competitive races. Previously the State Legislature was responsible for creating district maps, which led to more partisan voting blocks.

The election broke previous records for the number of ballots cast in a midterm election.

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