Citizens, study for November election

With the dust settled and the primary ballots counted, Michigan moves forward to a general election that will have much impact on mid-Michigan. Voters have three months to do their homework for a lengthy and important ballot.

Topping the ticket will be races for governor and the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by a retiring Carl Levin.

Expect the race between Gov. Rick Snyder and Democratic challenger Mark Schauer, a former minority leader in the state Senate and one-term U.S. congressman, to heat up now that primaries are past. Same with the U.S. Senate race between Republican Terri Lynn Land, a former secretary of state, and Democrat Gary Peters, a three-term member of the U.S. House and former state senator.

Recent polls show Republican Snyder and Democrat Peters with an edge, but it’s a long time until Nov. 4. The contests should be exciting for Michigan voters, who are known for not giving either party a complete monopoly on statewide races.

Closer to home, Democrat Eric Shertzing, Ingham County’s treasurer, will face Republican Mike Bishop, former state senate majority leader, in the contest for the 8th District seat in Congress. That, too, should be a boisterous contest.

Bishop, who was term-limited out of the state Legislature, will be able to draw on his GOP contacts and an endorsement from outgoing GOP Rep. Mike Rogers. And Schertzing, as a sitting elected official, should command more resources and support from Democrats than Rogers’ most recent challengers enjoyed. While the district has been safe for Rogers, this should be a tougher contest than recently seen.

The 23rd District state Senate seat also is open, with incumbent Gretchen Whitmer reaching her term limit. Democrat Curtis Hertel Jr., currently Ingham County’s register of deeds, will take on Republican Craig Whitehead for that open seat. There will be numerous contests lower on the ballot, including Ingham County commission seats and the nonpartisan race for Lansing Board of Education.

Expect, too, a handful of ballot proposals including, hopefully, a Lansing City Charter amendment that would allow expansion of the Board of Water & Light’s governing board to include nonvoting representatives from neighboring communities that use BWL power.

Citizenship in a democracy is serious business. Make time to get informed, then vote. Ingham County’s turnout in Tuesday’s primary was a meager 16 percent. Let’s do better in November.

– Lansing State Journal