A Political Primer - When Voting Prepare Yourself Ahead of Time

Posted In: Politics, National, State, Local,   From Issue 670   By: Mike Thompson

23rd October, 2008     0

Welcome to The Review's special pre-election edition. These are weighty times that we live in and the purpose of this article is to impress upon you the importance of actually voting. Without your vote being cast, government turns into nothing more than a contrivance whereby a small percentage of people attempt to speak for the majority; in short, government is too big & important to be left to politicians.

Surveys indicate that 4 in 10 of you will not vote on Nov. 4th based on past presidential elections. Maybe you think the system is corrupt, but it really isn't in terms of voting. Election results are basically honest in Saginaw County, in comparison to places like Florida and Ohio. We should respect and thank our County Clerk Susan Kaltenbach, and our local clerks such as Diane Herman in the City of Saginaw for the diligence they display in assuring this is so.

Maybe you think voting is not important, but people have died for your right to vote, especially if you are an ethnic minority. Women could not vote until 1920: Think Susan B. Anthony. African Americans were pushed away until the 1960s and even beyond: Think Martin Luther King Jr.

Okay. If you are ready to vote, there is a bunch of other stuff on the ballot, beyond John McCain versus Barack Obama. You can vote for your U.S. senator and congressman, for your state rep, for your county commissioners and officers, for your state and local judges. You can vote on whether Democrats or Republicans should run State supported universities.  You even can vote on whether people should have the right to medical marijuana (State Ballot Proposal 2).

You have the option of just voting for president and leaving the rest of the stuff blank. But if you want to be a good citizen, and fill out your full ballot with knowledge behind your choices, this article will help you.

Not all of us use computers, but we can find a friend who has one. If you type in "michigan.gov/vote" then you are on your way. Just give your name, birthdate and zip code. You should get a pop-up that says, "you are registered." If you are not registered, investigate. But if you are truly registered, you can next hit a purple button to see a sample ballot.

If you print out that sample ballot and mark down your choices ahead of time, you will need to spend maybe only two minutes in the polling booth. While you are waiting in line, and hopefully it's a short wait, you may notice people spending 15 minutes behind the curtains in the poll booths. These are people who were not prepared.

            Here are the categories on the sample ballot:

(1) "Presidential." There are choices for president and vice-president other than McCain/Palin and Obama/Biden. The ever-vigilant Ralph Nader represents the Natural Law Party. Cynthia McKinney from the Green Party is so far left wing; she makes Obama look like a conservative. But in a democracy, you do have options.

(2) "Congressional." For United States Senator, Democrat Carl Levin is virtually unopposed to continue his 30 years of service. Republican Jack Hoogendyk is pretty much just sticking his name on the ballot as a distraction. Levin seems like a principled fellow, but in Michigan he does not bring us our share of federal funds.

A stronger battle comes in the Fourth District, spread across a chunk of mid-Michigan, with Republican Dave Camp of Midland challenged by Democrat Andrew Concannon of Saginaw Township. (See Review Magazine's Camp and Concannon candidate forum elsewhere in this edition.)

The big battle comes in the suburban and rural 94th District, with incumbent Republican Ken Horn again facing his Democratic nemesis, Bob Blaine. Readers may take note that in a previous Review Magazine edition, Ken Horn responded to questions while Bob Blaine did not.

After the State Rep and Board of Regents categories, we move to the County races, which vary for each district. This is where your local prosecuting attorneys and Sheriff's are selected, along with County Clerk and Treasurer and County Commissioners.

In Saginaw County, Democratic Clerk Susan Kaltenbach seemingly will face an endless token opposition from Republican James

Ormsby, the son of longtime former Democratic Clerk Gladys June Ormsby. Meanwhile, Treasurer Marv Hare, Register of Deeds Mildred

Dodak and Drain Commissioner Jim Koski are unopposed. People complain about entrenched county officials, but then nobody opposes them in elections.

Next on the ballot comes the Nonpartisan Section. This is where we need to give more attention. First we see Justice of Supreme Court, with incumbent Cliff Taylor challenged by Diane Marie Hathaway and Robert W. Roddis. Political parties are not listed on this ballot, compared to the university boards, but Taylor is the presiding Republican on a 4-3 GOP "John Engler court," based on Engler's stream of appointments.  Hathaway is the challenging Democrat. Roddis is a Libertarian.

A solid understanding of all candidates and their positions is important. We encourage you to go online to research and then fill out your entire ballot on November 4th.

As Abraham Lincoln once wrote, 'The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do at all in their separate and individual capacities."

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