Tuesday is Election Day and I hope to see a sea of “I voted” stickers across the state.
This badge of honor comes to those who cast their ballot at the polls, making their voice heard.
In Michigan’s last gubernatorial election in 2010, just 42 percent of registered voters in Michigan cast a ballot. In the August primary, only 18.1 percent – less than one in five of all eligible residents – voted.
It’s my hope in every election that more of us will turn out to exercise one of our most precious freedoms.
Voting is an opportunity to help decide matters that truly impact your life, questions like “What’s best for my community?” and “What’s best for our state?” or “Who should our leaders be?” and “What taxes should I have to pay?”
I’m proud that my office was named No. 1 in the country for getting voters registered. In fact, Michigan’s voter registration is about 98 percent of eligible adults.
But as citizens, we need to do better. Whatever our political views, the more of us who are involved, who are engaged and who are paying attention make this state and this country work better. Voting makes government more accountable to the people it serves.
If you need another reason, ask a veteran. Courageous men and women have sacrificed so much to ensure that each of us has that right to vote.
A wonderful way to see all that is at stake in this November election is to take look at a sample ballot, available through the online Michigan Voter Information Center at michigan.gov/vote. You can confirm you are registered, see a sample ballot for your community, find out how to contact your local clerk or track your absentee ballot.
The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday. And if you don’t think you can make it to the polls, qualified voters can vote absentee. Just contact your local clerk for information.
Your vote is your voice. Let it be heard loud and clear on Election Day.
Ruth Johnson is Michigan Secretary of State.