elections

That moment you step up to the voting machine to cast your vote is arguably the foundation of our democracy.

But here’s something you might not know: Those voting machines that we rely on are wearing out, and fast.

Two years ago, a presidential commission on elections warned of an impending national crisis because of these worn-out voting machines, and according to Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum, Michigan is in the thick of it.

Aaron Selbig

Traverse City just elected a new mayor and three new commissioners. Voter turnout in this year’s election was about 28 percent.

If this year is anything like years past, older voters are likely having the most influence in Traverse City. In the 2013 city election, nearly 70 percent of voters were 50 years old or older – even though that age group made up only 45 percent of the electorate.

It’s the same story for all recent elections. Older voters are turning out to the polls at a much higher rate than younger voters.

Jim Carruthers is Traverse City’s new mayor. Carruthers won the seat in yesterday’s election, defeating Ian Winklemann and city commissioner Jeanine Easterday.

Carruthers says he became involved in city issues shortly after moving to Traverse City in 1989.

“I got involved mainly because I don’t own a TV," he says. "And I went down to city commission meetings and sat in the audience and watched and listened and made public comment because I was raised to be involved and care about my community and I was.”


The actress best known for playing Laura Ingalls Wilder on “Little House on the Prairie” in the 1970s and early 80s moved to Michigan two years ago with her actor husband Timothy Busfield.

On Monday, she announced a run for Congress in Michigan’s 8th District. It covers cities like East Lansing, Howell, Fenton, Clarkston, Lake Orion and Rochester.

A counterpoint to this essay can be found here

The Next Idea

Everybody who sets foot in a voting booth wants to know that their vote counts just as much as the vote of the next person in line. Faith in our democratic system rests on fair and representative elections.

Unfortunately, Michigan’s political map has been manipulated to the point that not all votes count the same. Politicians have drawn political districts so that in many places around our state, who wins or loses is a foregone conclusion long before the end of election night. They created the political map this way in order to give themselves and their party a head start in an election, much to the detriment of our democracy and your vote.

Grand Rapids voters will be electing their first new mayor in more than 10 years, and the primary is a week from tomorrow.

Current Mayor George Heartwell is being term-limited out after serving in office for more than a decade.

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