The Climate Voters’ Handbook: Michigan

The Climate Voters’ Handbook: Michigan
Mark Graf/Alamy

Michigan’s climate future is up for a vote.

Michigan races, ballot proposals, and voter access are being closely watched around the country. And in a state this politically divided, the fate of Michigan’s climate future is also at stake. Your vote this year matters more than ever!

This summer, the federal government took historic climate action by passing the Inflation Reduction Act, providing almost $370 billion to invest in clean energy and climate justice. And in Michigan, Governor Gretchen Whitmer set forward an ambitious climate plan to make the state carbon neutral by 2050. Electing climate champions who envision a more sustainable future for Michigan is crucial to ensuring that we keep our momentum and implement these ambitious plans.

Learn more about what’s at stake in Michigan during the midterm elections this November and how you can take action. Click on the links below to head to each section:


THE WHEN: Important dates

Don’t know if you’re registered to vote? Want to request a mail-in ballot? You’re in the right spot to have all your logistical questions answered! Check out this list of key deadlines and resources to make sure you don’t miss the chance to vote by November 8.

Make sure to…
By this deadline
More info
Register to vote
Online: Monday, October 24, 2022
In person: Any time up to 8 p.m. on Election Day at your city or township clerk office
Vote early
In person: Beginning 40 days before election day at your local election clerk’s office and up until Monday, November 7, 2022
Apply for a mail-in or absentee ballot
Friday, November 4, 2022
Things you should know: Your mail-in ballot must be received—not just postmarked—by your county election office by Tuesday, November 8, before 8 p.m.
Tuesday, November 8, 2022
Find your polling place and learn more about what to expect once you’re there.


THE WHO: Meet the candidates

We must face the climate crisis head-on by electing environmental champions who will put Michiganders before the profits of polluters. The following NRDC Action Fund–endorsed candidates have impressive records of fighting for a cleaner, healthier, and more equitable climate future.


Running for governor
Governor of Michigan since 2019

Why we support Whitmer

  • Whitmer launched the bold MI Healthy Climate Plan that sets the goal of making Michigan carbon neutral by 2050 to tackle climate change.
  • She has boldly taken on polluters by moving to decommission the dangerous Line 5 oil pipeline and taken on toxic chemicals by directing the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy to establish the state’s first drinking water standard for PFAS contamination.


Running for U.S.  House of Representatives (MI-08)
Representative for Michigan since 2013

Why we support Kildee

  • Kildee supports enhanced safeguards to protect our clean air and water and supports renewable energy advancements that will create thousands of jobs.
  • He has also been a leader on issues relating to the Great Lakes and cleaning up toxic PFAS chemicals. As a co-chair of the Congressional PFAS Task Force, he has introduced legislation to protect firefighters from PFAS and clean up PFAS at military bases, as well as remove lead from water.


Running for U.S. House of Representatives (MI-6)
Representative for Michigan since 2015

Why we support Dingell

  • As a member of the House Committee on Energy & Commerce and Committee on Natural Resources, she has advocated for the Great Lakes, funded the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and worked to protect public lands.
  • She also has a strong record on water issues. She voted in support of strengthening the Clean Water Act, and in 2016, she offered an amendment to the 2017 budget resolution that would designate $457.5 million in emergency funding for Flint to address its water crisis.


Running for U.S.  House of Representatives (MI-07)
Representative for Michigan since 2019

Why we support Slotkin

  • In Congress, she will prioritize access to clean air and clean water, especially for the Great Lakes.
  • Slotkin led the development of the first Arctic strategy for the Department of Defense and helped to administer the first survey of how climate change is impacting U.S. military bases.


Running for U.S.  House of Representatives (MI-11)
Representative for Michigan since 2019

Why we support Stevens

  • In Congress, she’s focused on clean, smart infrastructure as well as clean water and maintaining the health of the Great Lakes.
  • Stevens has earned a stellar lifetime score of 96 percent on LCV’s National Environmental Scorecard.


Running for U.S. House of Representatives (MI-10)
Former judge on the 16th Circuit Court

Why we support Marlinga

  • Marlinga believes we must protect the Great Lakes and our other waterways from corporate polluters.

Important note: This election cycle, the NRDC Action Fund focused on endorsements for key federal and gubernatorial races. We know there are other important races on the ballot, so we encourage you to seek out other trusted resources to help you learn about candidates in races we have not covered.

THE HOW: Take action

Your advocacy can make a difference in such hotly contested races. Here are a few ways you can get involved:

Share this handbook on social media
Make sure your friends and family in Michigan know that the climate is on Michigan’s ballot and that they have all the info they need to vote for climate champions on November 8.

Share to Facebook. >>
Share to Twitter. >>

Join Slack to connect with other climate activists
Find other people like you fighting for climate action in Michigan—because a grassroots movement requires strength in numbers. You’ll be the first to know about important volunteer opportunities and actions you can take to help secure a victory for our candidates this fall.

Join NRDC Action Fund’s All In for Climate Action Slack space—and look for the #local-michiganchannel. >>

Sign up to be a poll worker on Election Day
A sign of a functioning democracy is high voter turnout, but unfortunately, polling places in some states are forced to close due to a lack of poll workers. This makes it much harder for people to vote.

Volunteer with Power the Polls to make sure every polling location stays open and every voter has a chance to cast their ballot. >>

Sign up to write letters to Michigan voters
We’re partnering with Vote Forward to mobilize volunteers like you to write thousands of get-out-the-vote (GOTV) letters to voters in Michigan. This is one of the most effective ways to make sure people turn up to vote—in fact, writing personal letters can increase turnout results by up to 3.4 percentage points!

Sign up to write letters on NRDC Action Fund’s Vote Forward hub. >>

THE RESULTS: As of November 16, 2022

We know that when it comes to fighting climate change and securing a clean and healthy future for everyone, every election counts. This one was no different. Democrats fought hard to retain their majority in the Senate, while Republicans are poised to take narrow control of the House of Representatives.

But a split Congress means leaders from both parties have a responsibility to work together to build a livable future for all. Now it is important to continue to push for equitable climate action and insist that both parties work to deliver a clean energy future. The NRDC Action Fund has a long history of working with bipartisan legislatures to achieve real climate progress. There is tough work ahead—but for now let’s celebrate the new and returning climate champions.

Here are the new and returning climate champions at the helm in Michigan:

  • Gretchen Whitmer has been re-elected as governor.
  • Dan Kildee has been re-elected as representative for District MI-08.
  • Debbie Dingell has been re-elected as representative for District MI-06.
  • Elissa Slotkin has been re-elected as representative for District MI-07.
  • Haley Stevens has been re-elected as representative for District MI-11.

The following candidates were not elected this year:

  • Carl Marlinga, who ran for representative for District MI-10.

Our journey does not end on Election Day. We will continue to defend the wins and learn from the losses over the last two years. And we hope you will continue to support this work.

Paid for by the NRDC Action Fund and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.