Guide to Voting on Nov. 3; Consider Preparing with a Sample Ballot

Posted In: Politics, Local, News, Local,   From Issue 713   By: Mike Thompson

21st October, 2010     0

With the mid-term elections looming ahead on Tuesday, November 2nd, we hope you have found the Candidate Forums that we’ve been conducting the past several editions informative and helpful.

In terms of practicality, however, even the best-informed voters can get confused, as was proven back in Florida during the 2000 Presidential Election. Have you ever entered the voting booth feeling that despite informing yourself about all of the candidates and all the big issues, you suddenly find yourself confronted with unexpected decisions?

This can happen, especially when we are called upon to elect state and local judges, state school board members and major university regents. If you feel you are not informed about these people, you are not obligated to vote within these ballot sections and you may choose to skip them. For example, some folks vote only for governor at the top of the ballot.

However, there is a good way to prepare, so that you may exercise your full rights at a citizen and avoid holding up the line at the polling place.

A sample ballot can provide help, both in studying candidates and issues ahead of time. You can have your choices decided in advance so that in the voting booth, you need only look at your sample ballot (you can bring it with you) and transpose your votes onto the real ballot.
Here is where to find and print a sample ballot: 

County Clerk Sue Kaltenbach notes that while she has posted a sample ballot, another option is:

At this site you can find your polling place, and you can click on names of candidates highlighted in blue to reach their web sites. If you are not computer savvy, don’t be shy about asking a family member or friend to help you.

At the top of the left column, you have the option to vote straight Republican or straight Democratic. This would not cover all of your work. You still would have to follow the ballot to vote for nonpartisan judge candidates, local school board member, and state and county ballot proposals.

Your first individual task will be to vote for governor. Actually, you will see the names of the candidates for governor along with their running mates for lieutenant governor.

Next are your choices for Michigan secretary of state and attorney general, and then for U.S. congressman. The sequence continues with state senator and state representative.

There’s a good chance you won’t recognize the names of candidates for the state (K-12) Board of Education, University of Michigan regent, Michigan State University regent and Wayne State University regent. They are identified by political party, but if you really wish to be diligent, you can use your sample ballot to Google their names and conduct research.

Next you get to make your choice for County Commissioner (see preview article in this edition), and for offices in your Local Township or village. At about this point on your ballot, it will be time to flip the sheet to the reverse side.

Now you’re into the judicial elections. First you’ll see candidates for the Michigan Supreme Court, and then the state Court of Appeals, identified at “4th District.” Then you have candidates for Saginaw County’s 10th Circuit Court. Judge Fred Borchard Jr. is unopposed, but with William Crane’s retirement we have a rare contested race with James Borchard, Fred Jr.’s brother, vs. Jim Howell (see Review’s Oct. 7 edition). For the 70th District Court, M. Randall Jurrens is unopposed.

In the suburbs, local school board candidates are listed immediately after the judges.
The ballot next moves to Delta College trustees. Candidates are designated from Saginaw, Bay and Midland Counties. No matter what county is your residence, you can vote for candidates from the other counties as well.

We’re finally getting close to our finish, but some important choices remain. Proposal 10-1 is whether to convene a Michigan Constitutional Convention, and Proposal 10-2 would prevent convicted felons from holding elected office or public employment (drafted with disgraced former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick in mind).

The grand finale provides a pair of countywide tax proposals. The first is an 0.225-mill renewal for the Saginaw County Event Center (see preview article in this edition), and the second is a new 0.15-mill tax for Saginaw County Animal Control.

If you encounter any confusion while voting, don’t hesitate to ask a poll worker for help. That’s why they are there.


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