State Elections Deserve Recognition


Voters can look at a preview of their ballot before hitting the booths for real.

Another four years has gone by and another election is coming to an end. Hillary Clinton takes on Donald Trump as yet again it’s Democrat versus Republican. The eyes of the world are watching the Republican and Democratic Presidential candidates as well as Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein. More than ever, however, the results of the state representatives are significant.

The representatives for both Congress and the Legislature receive little media coverage compared to the Presidential candidates. The decision of who will represent Michigan both in congress and in the state legislature affects Michiganders directly since they are able to make changes if elected.

The citizens of Rochester Hills will be voting for Republican Michael Webber or Democratic Ted Golden to represent the 45th district in the State Legislature. Voters will choose from Democrat Mike Bishop, Republican Suzanna Shkreli, Libertarian Jeff Wood, Green Party candidate Maria Green and Jeremy Burgess, Natural Party candidate for the 8th district Congressional seat.

Since Michigan is a swing state, it is an important election for local politicians especially because whatever side Michigan swings will help sway what party will dominate in important political houses like the Senate and the House of Representatives. For example, Bishop served as a Representative for the 8th district before becoming a Senator and is now running for Congress.

Unfortunately, Americans are notorious for not going to the polls in large numbers. In fact, the voter turnout in the United States 2012 Presidential election was at roughly 53 percent which is lower than most developed countries as the voter turnout for Mexico’s 2012 Presidential elections averaged 64 percent. In recent elections, about 60 percent of the voting population votes during presidential election years, and about 40 percent votes during midterm elections.  Last year, the voter turnout for the Oakland County elections was at 19.96%.   

Equally important are the positions for the State Board of Education because these people determine what kind of educational decisions and policies are made.  For example, a member of the State Board Of Education can pass policies on public education and act as an oversight on public learning.  There are 11 candidates running for this position.

The ballot also includes Regents of the University of Michigan,  Trustee of Michigan State University, Governor of Wayne State University as well as Circuit Court, Probate Court, District Court judges, and Prosecuting Attorney’s. Before the elections, voters are also able to see their ballot and who is running.

These politicians make important choices that locally impact all; people would think they would be talked about more, yet that is not the case.

This Presidential election has been all over the place, captivating the attention of everyone, politically involved or not. The comments the Democratic and Republican nominees have made on the campaign trail has attracted the attention of all, overshadowing these key state elections.   

Bigger races equate to more attention from voters; the more money invested in a campaign, the more support it will earn. State elections run on smaller budgets and don’t gain as nearly as much recognition as Presidential ones.   

For years, state elections have been living in the shadows of Presidential debates and scandals. They still do, even though they intimately affect citizens in their daily lives. Awareness is imperative yet it has not been received, not by everyone.