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top 10 reasons to vote no on amendment 1

10 reasons to exercise your power to vote

If the $80 million or more that’s been spent on television advertising on races up and down the ticket, the thousands of mailers coming to your doorstep, or the knocks on your doors from candidates and their pals haven’t been enough to get you to the polls, here are 10 more reasons to get off the couch and vote.

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10 reasons to exercise your power to vote

Kathleen Gray. Detroit Free Press Lansing Bureau 12:40 a.m. EDT November 2, 2014

Only 3.2 million people voted in the last gubernatorial election in 2010. (Photo: Detroit Free Press) Buy Photo

If Tuesday is anything like 2010 — or any other midterm election — more than 1 million fewer voters will cast ballots than during presidential election years.

More than 5 million voted in 2008 and 4.7 million cast ballots in 2012. But only 3.2 million people voted in the last gubernatorial election in 2010.

“People don’t necessarily see the impact of other elected officials, yet they do for president,” said Victoria Mantzopoulos, an associate dean and professor at the University of Detroit Mercy. “They think the president can change or alter the direction of the country. But local elections impact us the most in our day-to-day lives.”

Indeed, those city and township council races that are peppered across the ballot could ultimately decide how your garbage is picked up, water rates are set, and police and firefighters respond to accidents, crimes and fires.

Oftentimes, people don’t go to the polls because they’re intimidated by the process or they don’t know enough about the candidates, said Susan Smith, president of the League of Women Voters of Michigan.

To combat that, Smith said she’d like to see more debates by the candidates so people can see them face-to-face, instead of just in ads. And, Smith said, she’d also like to see more civic responsibility from voters.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport,” she said. “If we don’t engage in the democratic process, the democracy is not going to thrive. And it’s also important for us to be role models for our children.”

So, if the $80 million or more that has been spent on television advertising on races up and down the ticket, the thousands of mailers coming to your doorstep, or the knocks on your doors from candidates and their pals haven’t been enough to get you to the polls, here are 10 more reasons to get off the couch and vote:

1: It’s a virtual dead heat in the governor’s race

The governor’s race is down to the wire, and now in a statistical dead heat between Republican incumbent Rick Snyder and his Democratic challenger, Mark Schauer. A poll done last week by EPIC-MRA, a Lansing polling firm, shows Snyder with a slim 45%-43% lead — well within the 4-percentage-points margin of error. At stake are vastly different views on the priorities for state government and how to pay for them.

DETROIT FREE PRESS

Poll: Absentees put Snyder, Schauer race in dead heat

Turnout is key to this and other races up and down the ballot. A low turnout favors Republicans, while Democrats usually benefit from high voter participation. But the wild cards are the absentee ballots. Many local clerks are reporting increased absentee ballot applications and returns. And absentees tend to lean toward the Democrats.

2: New Michigan faces will be headed to Congress

A new dynamic in Michigan’s delegation in Congress will occur no matter the partisan breakdown in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Four members — U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, U.S. Reps. John Dingell, D-Dearborn, Dave Camp, R-Midland, and Mike Rogers, R-Brighton — decided not to run for re-election; U.S. Rep. Kerry Bentivolio, R-Milford, lost his re-election bid in the primary (although he’s running a long-shot write-in campaign for the general election); and U.S. Rep. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township, is leaving the House to run for Levin’s seat. So, at least five — and perhaps more — of the state’s 16 members of Congress will be new faces.

3: Justice on the line at all levels of court races

Opinions on crime, punishment, corporate responsibility and personal behavior are the linchpins of judicial races up and down the ballot. Voters will decide races ranging from the state Supreme Court — where two eight-year terms and one two-year partial term are up for grabs — to dozens of circuit and district judge races around the state.

4: Legal battles to license tabs, the AG and SOS matter

The candidates for attorney general and secretary of state have vastly different views on issues ranging from same-sex marriage and the Affordable Care Act to access to the ballot and SOS branch offices. Attorney General Bill Schuette has fought many conservative battles that Democrat Mark Totten says he’ll abandon — like the same-sex marriage appeal. Democratic secretary of state candidate Godfrey Dillard says he wants to close multiple branch offices in favor of regional centers, a plan incumbent SOS Ruth Johnson calls foolhardy.

5: Will one party dominate the state Legislature?

Control of the state Legislature is up for grabs, and while no one believes that Democrats can take the majority in the state Senate, a few pick-ups by Democrats could break the GOP’s 26-12 supermajority advantage in the upper chamber. Both Republicans and Democrats have been pouring huge amounts of money into four key Senate races in the last week, including the 7th District battle between state Sen. Pat Colbeck, R-Canton, and state Rep. Dian Slavens, D-Canton.

In the House, Republicans hold a 59-50 majority (there’s one independent, state Rep. John Olumba of Detroit, who lost a bid for the state Senate. That seat is expected to be won by Democrats) and both sides are hoping to boost their numbers.

6: After 11 years, Wayne County will get new exec

Wayne County is in for a new era since embattled County Executive Robert Ficano lost his primary election bid to retain his job. He has been an elected official in Wayne County since 1983 — 20 years as sheriff and 11 as executive. Democrat Warren Evans, former Wayne County sheriff and Detroit Police chief, is favored to win the seat. But Republican John Dalton of Livonia still stands in the way.

7: Send Lansing a message about wolf hunts

The two statewide ballot proposals on wolf hunting in the Upper Peninsula are not going to end the debate. But here’s what you need to know: If you want to continue a limited hunt to kill a portion of the 600-plus population of gray wolves in the western UP, vote yes. If you want to put a halt to the hunt, vote no.

But keep in mind, the “no” vote will not automatically stop the hunt, since a third law was passed that will allow a hunt to go forward. A “no” vote, however, would send a message of support and give anti-wolf hunt advocates at least some fuel for an expected lawsuit to permanently stop the hunt.

8: Relax marijuana laws? 11 communities will decide

Don’t bogart that marijuana proposal, dude! Eleven communities, including Berkley, Huntington Woods and Pleasant Ridge will consider proposals to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana, or ease enforcement of marijuana laws. More than a dozen Michigan communities have already passed similar laws, and voters statewide approved the use of medical marijuana for chronically ill people in 2008.

9: Are you willing to help pay for local road repairs?

While the state has been unable to come up with a solution to fix Michigan’s deteriorating roads, dozens of communities are taking the matter into their own hands. They’re asking voters to pay for the fixes themselves with local road millages in communities, including: Farmington, Farmington Hills, Royal Oak, Fraser, Memphis, St. Clair Shores, Harrison Township, Melvindale and Southfield.

10: Libraries, parks, leaf burning and much more

Besides multiple library, park and school millage proposals, some of the other items that will appear on ballots across metro Detroit include: prohibiting burning of leaves in Auburn Hills; allowing 18-year-olds to run for office in Holly; electing Wayne City Council members by district and implementing term limits; and letting the City Council, instead of an independent commission, set salaries in Trenton.

■ Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday.

My Ballot – Michigan Voters Guide

top 10 reasons to vote no on amendment 1:If the $80 million or more that's been spent on television advertising on races up and down the ticket, the thousands of mailers coming to your doorstep, or the knocks on your doors from candidates and their pals haven't been enough to get you to the polls, here are 10 more reasons to get off the couch and vote.

top 10 reasons to vote no on amendment 1

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top 10 reasons to vote no on amendment 1 10 reasons to exercise your power to vote If the $80 million or more that's been spent on television advertising on races up and down the ticket, the thousands of mailers coming to your doorstep, or the knocks on your doors from...