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Vote, Please.

Now it’s on you.

The decision to repair Michigan’s roads, to make sure all taxes paid at the pump are invested in highway maintenance, and that sales tax revenue goes to schools and local municipalities, is in your hands this Tuesday, May 5.

That, alone, is enough to enrage some people. I’ve talked with some who are livid that legislators could not resolve Michigan’s road problems without putting a ballot proposal before the voters.

Whatever you think about Proposal 1, your vote counts. To make it an informed vote, read our excellent School News Network story here, or go directly to the www.crcmich.org website for the Citizens Research Council’s nonpartisan analysis.

If you do vote, you’ll likely be the exception. Michigan has 7.28 million registered voters. Some believe turnout in this unusual election — Michigan’s first ballot proposal in a May election — could be fewer than 1 million. Longtime election observer Mark Grebner of Lansing told Michigan Radio he expects about 1.5 million voters to cast a ballot, an estimate based on the some 450,000 absentee ballots requested prior to the election.

If Grebner is correct, slightly more than one in five registered voters will determine whether we’ll address the issue of Michigan’s deteriorating transportation infrastructure, or we’ll do exactly what has made so many so mad at the Legislature: we’ll kick the can down the road and leave it to someone else to decide.

Voter participation is down. Just over 40 percent of Michigan’s voters cast ballots for governor in the last election. The midterm elections last year were decided by the lowest percentage of registered voters than in 1942, when many of voting age were defending this nation in World War II.

Most of the people reading this are educators, or are parents of children in our schools. Our vote will send a message to them. If democracy is important, if participation is important, you’ll vote and you’ll discuss with students the importance of doing so when they ask about the American flag “I voted” sticker you’ll wear after you cast your ballot.

Be a good role model. Learn about Proposal 1. Go out and vote. Our democracy depends on it.

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Ron Koehler
Ron Koehler
Ron Koehler is the Kent ISD Superintendent and offers his commentary on issues in education.


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