These first-timers will leave blanks on ballots

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By Abbie Lennox
Ingham County Chronicle staff writer

Statewide ballot proposals not a priority for many first-time voters

On Nov. 6, Michigan voters will cast their vote in the 2012 presidential election, but many will forego voting on the six statewide ballot proposals.

“I am definitely voting for the presidential race, but probably not for the ballot proposals or other small races,” said Megan Rowley, Michigan State University finance junior. “I don’t know much about the issues on the ballot proposals, aside from the few commercials I have seen.”

Rowley added that many of her peers are focused on becoming educated on the presidential candidates, not the ballot proposals.

“Most of my friends are first-time voters, so voting in the presidential race is the most exciting for us,” Rowley said.

Kayla Knitter, a communications junior at Michigan State University, agreed with Rowley, saying that many young voters will head to the polls to vote for the presidential election.

“I’m sure a lot of young voters will simply check boxes without knowing about the issues or what their vote on a certain proposal could do,” said Knitter. “I think the presidential race is the most important for our generation, so that is what most of us are excited to vote for. The ballot proposals are still important, so I hope a lot of students take this next week to become educated on a few.”

Knitter added that although she is not fully educated on all the ballot proposals, she is aware of a few issues surrounding the proposals for the state.

“I know that there are six proposals, and I know that proposal three would require electric companies to use some percentage of renewable energy sources,” Knitter said.

According to the official 2012 Statewide Proposal Language from the State of Michigan’s website, proposal three is, “a proposal to amend the state constitution to establish a standard for renewable energy.” If the proposal is passed with majority yes votes, it would require electric companies to provide at least 25 percent of their annual retail sales from renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, or hydropower, by the year 2025.

Although the passage of this proposal would increase the cost of electricity bills statewide, Knitter thinks it is worth it for the environment.

“I’m pretty into the “green” revolution and helping the environment, so that proposal is very important to me,” Knitter said. “I know college kids are all about saving money, but I will definitely be voting yes for proposal three. It’s worth the trade-off for me, paying a little bit more to help out the environment.”

Rowley will also be voting yes on one of the ballot proposals in this election year.

“The extent of my knowledge on the ballot proposals is only about proposal six, the one about building bridges and tunnels, like the one they are thinking about building to Canada,” said Rowley. “I only know about this proposal because of the commercials I have seen lately about the new possible Michigan-Canadian bridge.”

The State of Michigan Statewide Proposal Language states that proposal six would require approval of creating “new international bridges or tunnels for motor vehicles” by a majority of voters in a statewide election before tax funds or resources could be used to finance or promote a new international bridge or tunnel.

“I will definitely be voting yes on this proposal,” Rowley said. “Being a finance major, I am always thinking about the money side of things, so voting yes would allow us to decide if we want our taxpayer money to be spent on new bridges or tunnels, that may or may not be necessary.”

As for the other proposals, both Rowley and Knitter agreed they would probably refrain from voting yes or no.

“I think it’s better to not cast a vote, than to make an uneducated vote,” Knitter said. “I will leave the decision of the other proposals to people who understand them, and vote in the presidential election and the few other proposals that I know.”

“I’m excited to vote in my first presidential election, so that’s what I’m focusing on going into Election Day,” Rowley said. “I’ll vote on the few issues and proposals I understand, and that will be it.”

For more information on all six of the statewide ballot proposals, visit the State of Michigan’s website on the proposals.

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