A Planet Detroit Climate Guide

If you appreciate our in-depth reporting and you can help us pay for it, please become a recurring donor to Planet Detroit.

With several potentially historic measures on the ballot and tight races for statewide offices, November’s election will have major consequences for voting rights, environmental regulation, abortion rights, and democracy itself. 

The results will also determine who will oversee the 2024 presidential election, with several Republican office-seekers continuing to say that the 2020 election was stolen. 

Here we share some info on key races and ballot measures that will likely have an environmental impact. But first, some basics:

When do I vote? Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

How do I register to vote? You can register any time between now and election day if you are a U.S. citizen who will be at least 18 or older on Election Day, a Michigan resident upon registration, a resident of your municipality for at least 30 days at the time of voting and not currently serving a jail or prison sentence. 

Register in person at your local clerk’s office any time through election day. You can vote simultaneously if you register at the clerk’s office on election day. You can also register to vote online until Oct. 24. Applications submitted by mail need to be postmarked by Oct. 24. The Detroit Free Press answers other questions about voting absentee and voter registration here

Where do I vote? You can find your polling place, nearest drop box, clerk’s office, sample ballot, and other information on the Michigan Secretary of State’s website.

The city of Detroit opened 13 early voting centers where voters can register, pick up an absentee ballot and drop off their ballots early. The centers are open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the weekend before Election Day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

How do I find my legislative districts? Here are some maps to help you find your congressional district, state senate district, and state house district

What if I want to vote absentee? An absentee ballot can be requested online if you have a State ID or driver’s license. However, state officials recommend requesting an absentee ballot by Oct. 25, 14 days before Election Day. 
You can apply for an absentee ballot here. You can also request an absentee ballot at your local clerk’s office up until 4 p.m. on Nov. 7. Officials recommend putting absentee ballots in the mail by at least Oct. 25 and hand delivering them to a drop box after that date.

Now, on to the guide:

Ann Arbor’s climate action proposal 

Ann Arbor voters will vote on a millage to fund the city’s climate goals. The tax could raise $100 million between 2023 and 2043. This money would be used to invest in solar and geothermal power, energy efficiency programs, neighborhood resilience centers, and non-motorized transportation and public transit networks, among other initiatives.

Ann Arbor Mayor Christopher Taylor and several other local political leaders support the millage, also endorsed by the Sierra Club Michigan Chapter and Michigan League of Conservation Voters. The city has more information on the measure here.

SMART millages 

OaklandMacomb and parts of Wayne County will vote on funding measures for the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART). SMART is metro Detroit’s regional transit system, and it connects with Detroit’s bus system. SMART millages are supported by the Sierra Club Michigan Chapter and Detroit Free Press.

In Macomb County, voters will decide whether or not to renew the 0.95 countywide millage to keep SMART buses operating for another five years. SMART had trouble getting the measure on the ballot this year amid growing opposition to the system on the part of some communities like Macomb Township.

In Oakland County, voters will decide on a 0.95 mill levy for ten years to fund public transit throughout Oakland County. This is notable because up until now, Oakland County communities have been able to “opt-out�? of SMART, leaving a swiss cheese transit system in the county. If the Oakland millage passes, all Oakland residents will fund SMART and receive SMART services, potentially including fixed routes into far-flung suburbs like Novi and Rochester. Notably, a regional transit millage proposal defeated by voters in 2016 was approved by 50 percent of voters in Oakland County, and the County continues to move to the left.

In Wayne County, voters in communities that have SMART will decide on the renewal of the 0.994 mill funding for another four years.

Open space and farmland preservation: Dexter Township, Scio Township and Northfield Township will consider millages to preserve farmland and open space. The Sierra Club Michigan Chapter supports all three measures.


Following her launch of the MI Healthy Climate Plan, it’s perhaps unsurprising that environmental groups back incumbent Governor Gretchen Whitmer, including the Sierra Club Michigan Chapter and Michigan League of Conservation Voters.

The Detroit Free Press is also backing Whitmer, saying that the Republican candidates for the major statewide offices have disqualified themselves by endorsing former President Donald Trump’s claim that the 2020 election was stolen.

The Freep said Whitmer’s rival Tudor Dixon, Secretary of State candidate Kristina Karamo and Attorney General candidate Matt DePerno all lack experience in public office while continuing to back conspiracy theories related to the last election. The Detroit News is backing Dixon.

“Dixon, DePerno and Karamo pose an unprecedented threat to Michigan’s long tradition of free and fair elections,�? the Free Press Editorial Board said.

Secretary of State

The Sierra Club’s Michigan Chapter and Michigan League of Conservation Voters also support current Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Attorney General Dana Nessel. Benson received the“Environmentalist of the Year�? award from the Sierra Club because of her work during the 2020 election.

“Sierra Club understands that democracy is essential to environmental protection,�? said David Holtz, a member of the group’s executive committee.

Attorney General

The Free Press Editorial Board praised Attorney General Dana Nessel for making good “on her 2018 pledge to direct more of her office’s resources to consumer protection and environmental enforcement.�?

Michigan Supreme Court

Progress Michigan and the Michigan League of Conservation Voters endorsed Kyra H. Bolden and Richard Bernstein for seats on the Michigan Supreme Court.

State House and Senate:

The makeup of the state House and Senate could determine whether or not the governor can implement policies to advance state climate goals, which include reducing emissions by 28% from 2005 levels by 2025 and 52% by 2030.

One close race will likely be in the new 48th District in northern Washtenaw County, where Green Party candidate Eric Borregard faces off against Democrat Jennifer Conlin and Republican Jason Woolford. Responses to survey questions from Conlin and Borregard can be found here. Conlin has been endorsed by the Michigan League of Conservation Voters and the Sierra Club Michigan Chapter.

An Oakland County race between Democrat Padma Kuppa and Republican Michael Webber for state Senate District 9 could also be close. Kuppa has stressed her commitment to holding polluters accountable and protecting the Great Lakes and drinking water.

Oakland County’s 13th Senate District may also deliver a tight race this year. Democratic state Senator Rosemary Bayer is running against Republican Jason Rhines. Bayer has touted her work on the state’s recently passed $5 billion budget, which included money for water infrastructure. She has received endorsements from the Michigan League of Conservation Voters and Sierra Club Michigan chapter.

Competitive districts 

Metro Detroit will see a few competitive races for the U.S. House. These include the contest between Democratic incumbent Elissa Slotkin and Republican Tom Barret in the state’s newly reconfigured 7th District. The district contains a large chunk of the southeast and central Michigan and is

regarded as a tossup. Slotkin has been endorsed by the Sierra Club Michigan Chapter, and the League of Conservation Voters’ national scorecard for elected officials gives her an environmental voting record of 97%. The race between Republican John James and Democrat Carl Marlinga for the 10th District, which includes Macomb County, could also be close. Marlinga has emphasized clean energy, protecting the Great Lakes, and job creation as priorities, while John James has aligned himself closely with former President Donald Trump.

The League of Women Voters offers a comprehensive voters guide featuring interviews with candidates for state races and some city and community guides presented by local chapters.

Bridge Michigan has a page with links to its articles on candidates, ballot initiatives, and key issues.

The Detroit Free Press voter information page also links to the paper’s endorsements, information on ballot proposals and interviews with candidates for the Detroit Community School District Board.

Detroit Documenters has this guide to help you vote with confidence.

Voters concerned about environmental issues can look at the Sierra Club Michigan Chapter’s extensive list of endorsements. The Michigan League of Conservation Voters also endorses many candidates and ballot proposals. And the Progressive Voters Guide, from the left-leaning advocacy organization Progress Michigan, provides information and endorsements for candidates, including those running for some city and county offices.

For national races, you can look at the League of Conservation Voters’ environmental scorecard for incumbent politicians.


SIGN UP for Planet Detroit's free weekly email newsletter

Our reporting 

runs deep.

Get our weekly free local enviro + health newsletter in your inbox with Planet Detroit.

Scroll to Top