Following the midterm election, Okemos residents will welcome two new faces to its Board of Education. Voters elected newcomers Mary Gebara and Katie Cavanaugh, while also re-electing Dean Bolton and Vincent Lyon-Gallo. Both newcomers said they are excited to join the board and serve their respective terms. Gebara beat out candidates Adam Candeub and Michael Kieliszewski for one of the three, four-year term positions. According to WILX, the NBC affiliate in Lansing, Gebara received the most votes in the race with 4,419 or 30 percent of all votes. “I’m very excited (to join the board), I worked hard, so I’m really happy that I won and I’m anxious to get started,” said Gebara.
Holly Thompson is the Williamston city clerk and has been busy working on preparing Williamston for one day – the 2018 midterm election. A couple of large tasks that she does for elections which help ensure a fair and easy process for her community are ordering ballots and updating computers. For residents who order ballots overseas, they ship out the absentee ballots 45 days in advance. Thompson’s office also has bipartisan flyers for people looking to learn more about the candidates. “We’ve been extra busy with the absentee ballots because those have been really high and just emails and phone calls and everything,” Thompson said.
Eli Pales life right now is full of plenty of coffee and lots of work. “In previous years we just haven’ t had the people in place that cared enough about voter turn out,” said Pales.
Historically voter turn out in midterm election is low, but this time we are seeing changes said Pales. “We’ve gotten tons and tons of people registered. I’m hearing from the clerk that our voter reg numbers are gonna be on par with the 2016 general election and that’s just absolutely insane,” he said. In fact, Pales says voter registration will end up six times higher than the last midterms.
From on-campus to off-campus, Lansing City clerk, Chris Swope, will have his hands full these next few weeks.
Election Day is right around the corner– Tuesday, November 6th to be exact. Some are calling this the most important midterm election in decades, but do young people understand the magnitude? Will the young voters head to the polls? The Democrats are hoping to flip the House. The Republicans currently hold the majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
The 2016 presidential election saw roughly the same percentage of youth voters as the 2012 election, but an increase in young voters who did not identify with either major party — something experts say reflects their views on American politics and poses a clear challenge for the major parties. “Youth voters are skeptical about the two major parties,” said Abby Kiesa, director of impact at the The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement. “Young people want drastic change, and they don’t think Republicans or Democrats will give them that.”
Young people are increasingly leaving behind the two major parties. This year, 35 percent of youth voters said they identify as independents, which is almost the same as the 37 percent who identified with Democrats before the election. This is compared to 29 percent independents and 45 percent Democrat in 2008.
“It’s either you stand for something or fall for nothing,” said Michigan State University freshman Sam Bryant on voting in the 2016 Presidential Election. Thousands of MSU students feel the same way, with record-high numbers of new student voters registering to vote in this year’s election.
With the election coming to a close on Nov. 8, not only will the nation choose the new president, but the new commander-in-chief as well. Donald Trump has made some clear numerical statements as to what his plans will be as the leader of the armed forces, while Hillary Clinton has made some more qualitative statements. Trump has stated that he will increase the size of the U.S. Army to 540,000 active personnel from roughly 473,000. This surge of troops will restore the Army’s size to a level similar to its size back in 2008, the year directly following an armed forces “surge” in Iraq.
A widening gap between young voters who have access to high-quality civic education and those who don’t is threatening young people’s ability to be active members in America’s democracy, experts say. In the 2012 election, 56 percent of youth who had any college experience voted compared to only 29 percent of youth with no college experience. Young people between 18 and 29 make up 40 percent of the youth population. The gap was similar in the 2008 election, when 62 percent of youth with any college experience voted, compared to only 36 percent of youth with no college experience. “Studies point to young people who are in wealthy districts are more likely to be exposed to the evidence-based, high-quality civic practices,” said Abby Kiesa, director of impact at The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University.