By Jordan Jennings
Lansing Township News
Find audio of interviewees here: Jrn 4 audio
LANSING TOWNSHIP — Lansing Township community members are expressing concerns about the lack of political self-education today and whether their votes make a difference.
Colette Miller, a crew member at Wendy’s on Saginaw Highway, said she has not been following this fall’s election campaign partly due to lack of resources and partly by choice. “I don’t have cable—I don’t watch TV except for Netflix,” she said.
On a federal level, midterm elections this Nov. 4 will affect all 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives as well as 33 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate. In Michigan, senatorial candidates are Democrat Gary Peters and Republican Terri Lynn Land. Republican Rick Snyder and Democrat Mark Schauer are running for governor,contesting issues such as the minimum wage, health care and transportation, among many others.
Miller said she thinks it is a problem if you “don’t know what’s going on around you,” but that being politically uninformed is a common issue.
She believes more people would go to the polls if they felt like their votes actually matter. “Personally… I don’t make it a priority to vote because technically as far as presidents go our vote doesn’t vote the president in, the Electoral College does. So our vote technically doesn’t do anything. So I feel like what’s the point? I’ll give you my opinion but my opinion doesn’t really… change anything.”
Nicole Handley, a Twister’s ice cream shop team member, calls herself “not much of a political person.” She said that lack of interest is because she doesn’t “understand it that much.”
When asked whether she believes Americans neglect their right to vote, Handley replied, “I never thought of it like that. Probably. I mean if you have the chance to vote, why not?”
For Handley, there’s still a question of whether voting makes a difference though.
“To be honest, I was just talking to my sister yesterday about this and she said, ‘Why should I vote? My vote doesn’t matter. You know, if you vote for someone and they don’t win… what does that say?‘“
Handley believes that choosing to vote is “just personal preference,” and is influenced by factors like being raised in a politically-minded home, and personal beliefs.
Ultimately, she said people should take the opportunity to vote if they want to, but they aren’t obliged to.
Mike Anderson, who works at Wireless Wonders Inc. on South Waverly Road, said he doesn’t follow the elections until “it gets down to the nitty gritty.”
When asked whether he thinks Americans abuse our privilege as voters, Anderson said, “all the time.” He added that people can — and should — change that by educating themselves about political issues. “Look around you, watch the news, read the papers—some of this we can change!” Anderson mentioned road conditions as being an important issue to him, and one that is influenced by voting.
Anderson also encouraged voters to “get on the other side” to see why another person voted another way.
He said that each able voter should “stand for something, even if that side doesn’t win.”