Partnership News and Views

Midterm election: Why you should vote

Amy Clickner, CEO, Lake Superior Community Partnership

de·moc·ra·cy

\di-ˈmä-krə-s” \

Definition of democracy

1a: government by the people especially: rule of the majority

b: a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections

With Election Day tomorrow, I thought it only fitting that my column reflect the importance of participating in the democratic process we hold dear; the very freedoms that so many have fought for and continue to protect. This is the day that you get to cast your vote for what you believe in.

Did you know that only about 40 percent of the voting eligible population typically turns out to vote in midterm elections, down from approximately 60 percent in presidential election years? And this year, there is considerable discussion on how Generation X, Millennials and the post-Millennial generation, who make up a majority of voting eligible adults, will impact election results. Will they turn out?

If you see shorter lines at the polling booth, keep in mind that Michigan absentee ballot requests were up more than 63 percent from 2014 topping the 1 million mark, setting the table to be a record year of turnout.

On the federal level, 35 Senate seats and all 435 House seats are up for election. In Michigan, we will be electing a new governor, secretary of state, attorney general and all 148 state legislators. This hasn’t happened since 2010. Still think your vote doesn’t matter?

Perhaps you need a reminder of why it is important to vote. Many pro-voting sites have come up with hundreds of reasons to vote. Here are some of my favorites:

¯ You get to play a role in choosing our leaders and changing our laws.

¯ It is a privilege that many in the world don’t have.

¯ You can complain with integrity.

¯ Higher turnout makes our democracy more represented.

¯ Voting is your voice.

¯ The results affect you.

… and, of course, you get a very cool sticker!

Not only do you have a responsibility, a duty, to vote but you also need to be accountable for preparing to vote. Make sure that you review the ballot you will be using on Election Day (all of this is online). Know the candidates and what they stand for or against. Do their ideals match up to yours? Do you believe they will be a strong leader who listens to their constituents’ voices?

You should also review the three ballot proposals that you will be deciding (Bridge Magazine online provides a great toolkit) on:

¯ Proposal 1 to legalize marijuana for recreational use.

¯ Proposal 2 creates an independent citizens redistricting commission.

¯ Proposal 3 creates state constitutional rights to certain voting policies.

Above is just a brief description of each ballot proposal, but there are many more details to learn for each before you pull that lever.

One thing we tend to forget during the election season, is to thank those who are taking their time and resources to run. Whether it is for a school board, local municipalities, state or federal government, the work required to be successful is not for the faint of heart. We need good people to continue to step up to represent our interests. And, hey, let’s stick to the issues when debating candidates with friends and on social media. Take the high road and stay away from personal attacks.

So to make a long column short, take your right to vote seriously. Do your homework and show up. You will be glad you did.

Sources: Pew Research Center, Bridge Magazine, The Detroit News

Editor’s NOTE: Amy Clickner is CEO of the Lake Superior Community Partnership. Her twice-monthly column will address topics of interest to the local business community.