By Fred Goldenberg
This morning, as I sat sipping my second cup of coffee and watching the snowflakes fall, I exercised one of my greatest patriotic duties. I filled out my Michigan Absent Voter Ballot application. I don’t need to tell you how important our right to vote is in keeping our democracy intact. It is the linchpin that everything else works off of.
Last year, in order to give all Michigan voters a stronger say in the presidential nominating process, Gov. Whitmer signed a bill that moved the primary from the second Tuesday in March to the fourth Tuesday in February.
So put a big red circle on your calendar – February 27 is Election Day in Michigan.
Now as I said above, I have chosen to vote via Absentee Ballot. I personally like the ease of filling out my ballot while still in my PJ’s and not standing in line at my polling place. But here in Michigan, pursuant to Public Act 81 of 2023, we now have early voting and the right to cast our vote in person at designated voting sites. These sites are open (times are determined by your local legislative body) for (9) days which begins the second Saturday before an election and ends the Sunday before the election.
In my Township every registered voter can cast their vote in the presidential primary starting at 9a.m. Saturday, February 17 until Sunday, February 25 at 5p.m. The site will be open every day from 9a.m. to 5p.m for nine days.
So, in addition to showing up on February 27 in person to vote or sending in an Absentee Ballot you have an additional nine days to show up and exercise the one thing that really counts in determining the future of our country – your vote.
After the presidential primary in February there are two additional primaries (05/07/24 and 08/06/24) culminating with the general election on 11/05/24. The above process will be repeated for each election.
One of the biggest complaints I have heard over the years has been limiting access to voting. I do believe that in the past limiting voting to one day had a dramatic impact on who was elected. If I had to take time off from work to vote I might think twice before losing my hourly wage and going to vote.
With early voting that is over. No one has an excuse not to vote. In addition to mailing in a ballot you have 9 days including a weekend to find an hour of your time and go vote.
But none of this matters if you are not registered to vote.
For those of you who are 18 years or older the process for registering to vote is very simple. You can register at one of the following locations:
• Online at Michigan.gov/VoterRegistration.
• At a Secretary of State branch office.
• At your city or township clerk’s office or your county clerk’s office.
• At any state agency that provides public assistance or services to people with disabilities.
• Through a voter registration drive; or,
• By mailing in a completed voter registration application postmarked at least 15 days before the election
Within 14 days before the election, all applications must be submitted to your local city or township clerk’s office in person.
By the way nothing makes my blood boil more than if your registered to vote and don’t show up. When someone starts complaining about the government I ask if they voted, not who they voted for, just did they vote and if they say no I end the conversation. Personally, I believe, if you didn’t vote you don’t have the right to complain.
2024 will be a pivotal year in testing our resolve and determination in preserving our democratic way of life. Let me be clear here, I am not talking about who you vote for but that you don’t sit on you behind and not show up to vote at all. You want to make sure that SOB doesn’t get elected (I don’t care which SOB you’re talking about) than show up and vote.
No excuses people. You have all the time you need to make your voice heard. Just do it.
Fred L. Goldenberg is a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA) working with Michigan Planners, a financial services and certified health insurance organization, in Traverse City. If you have any questions or comments about this column or are interested in our monthly Medicare classes please call 231-944-1400 or email@example.com