Liz Hornyak: On this week’s episode, we will be giving information about absentee ballots, Ann Arbor City Council votes to decriminalize psychedelic substances, and Leon Speakers partners with Grove Studios to launch the Amplify Fellowship. I am your host Liz Hornyak and this is the Eastern Echo Podcast.
Ypsilanti has received seven times more absentee ballot requests for this year’s general election than what is typical of a general election. The Ypsilanti Clerk office sent out absentee ballots on Sept. 24. If you still haven’t received your absentee ballot, you can contact the Ypsilanti Clerk’s Office at 734.483.1100 and they will guide you on how to receive an absentee ballot.
In Michigan, in order to receive an absentee ballot, you must be registered to vote. If you are not registered to vote, and you want to apply for an absentee ballot, you can do both at the same time at the Ypsilanti Clerk’s Office on 1 S. Huron St. Andrew Hellenga, Ypsilanti’s City Clerk, received a grant from the Center for Tech and Civic Life to purchase dropboxes. Dropboxes will be used for voters to drop off ballots and to comply with social distancing due to the coronavirus pandemic.
With the help of the grant, Ypsilanti will now have a total of three dropboxes. One will be placed at the Parkridge Community Center, another one at EMU’s Student Center, and another one at City Hall. Anyone who is planning to vote with an absentee ballot must drop it off at the City Clerk’s Office by 8 p.m. on Nov. 3. If you are planning to mail in your absentee ballot, do so as soon as possible. For more information on absentee ballots, you can go to Michigan.gov or City of Ypsilanti Website.
The Ann Arbor City Council unanimously voted in favor of a resolution that decriminalizes the use of entheogenic substances, including psychedelic plant substances. According to MLive, the resolution makes the investigation and arrest of individuals with possession of such substances the lowest priority of the city.
Anne Bannister is one of the Ann Arbor City Council members responsible for sponsoring and bringing forward the proposal. “We are steadily tracking the performance of the effects,“ Bannister said. "There have been no negative reports from other cities that have a similar resolution that I know of. It is always good to consider worst-case scenarios, and we will monitor these issues,”
According to Bannister, City Council is working with the Washtenaw County Public Health Department to educate the community about the potential dangers of entheogenic substance use.
Eli Savit, a current University of Michigan law professor and candidate for Washtenaw County Prosecutor, supports the resolution. “I believe the war on drugs has been an abject failure, and I see no reason to criminalize - or prosecute - people for their use of such plants,” Savit said.
Leon Speakers, an audio technology manufacturer, has partnered with Grove Studios to launch the Amplify Fellowship. This fellowship provides educational workshops for music and content creation as well as provide forty hours of studio and engineering time for three African-American artists.
“Some of the drive to make this happen was built off what we saw happen this summer and the public outcry about the need for there to be justice for African Americans when dealing with the legal system,“ said Rod Wallace, the Educational Program Coordinator for Grove Studios. "We want to identify a spot where we can support the African American community in doing something positive.”
To apply for the fellowship, applicants must be:
A resident of Washtenaw County
Passionate about music and making a difference
And they must be older than eighteen.
You can find more information on the fellowship or to apply, visit www.amplify-fellowship.com.
Reporting: Cameryn Eberly, Tyler Gaw, Julianna Lumaj
Script: Jasmine Boyd, Ronia Cabansag
Host: Liz Hornyak
Produced: Lauren Smith