18 year-old runs for Okemos School Board

Thomas Gorman graduated in the spring from Okemos High School. After spending four years there, he knew there were some changes he wanted to see. So, he decided to do something about it. Gorman ran for the Okemos School Board in this election. Not only was this his first time on the ballot, but this was also the first general election he was eligible to vote in.

East Lansing voters

Despite dire warnings, they voted in person and liked it

After weeks of hearing that polling places would be crowded, dangerous and contentious, some voters in East Lansing, Detroit and Shiawassee County who decided to chancve it were pleasantly surprised. They said voting precincts were ready for them, lines were short or organized to move swiftly and they felt safe from COVID-19.

MSUvote extends advice, help to student voters

MSUvote’s foundation is built on reaching out to student voters and getting them to perform in their civic duty.

MSUvote is a nonpartisan group that tells students that their vote counts and is important and that voting is a great way to have your voice heard and make an impact.

Co-chair of the MSU vote coalition Renee Brown reaches out to the student voters, even if most on-campus classes are down. Brown said that the main focus is to get as many people as possible to register to vote. 

“Registration, Education, Participation,” said Brown. “The whole focus is that the students have the information that they need.”

Sneakers form the V in the word vote chalked on pavement

Voters get candid about their opinions as decision 2020 approaches

2020 has been a year of unprecedented events, and to top it off we have an election with much on the line including the economy, climate change, health care, civil rights, racial justice, the U.S. Supreme Court and others. 

In 2016 candidate Donald Trump won Michigan by a handful of votes, but in 2020 Michigan seems to be leaning toward becoming a blue state. In DeWitt, the opinions of the candidates about the future of the country differ. 

One student at DeWitt High School poured out her concern about candidate Trump being re-elected. “I really don’t see how anyone could vote for that man. He’s a liar,” said Izabella Moore, 16. “The biggest issues that concern me are abortion rights, climate change, better health care amid a pandemic, and most importantly racial justice since I’m half Black, but I feel like the president doesn’t do anything for the issues I care about.

8th Congressional District ups its civic involvement

Gordon Trowbridge, spokesman for Slotkin’s re-election campaign, said from a campaign standpoint, he has noticed a difference this year in public participation. Trowbridge said it seems like voters are aware this is a big moment for Michigan because a lot of national issues addressed can also have a significant impact on a local level.  For example, concerns about medical costs and water quality is at the top of that list. 

“What was successful for Slotkin in 2018 and so far this year, was to be pragmatic toward these issues,” he said. “Slotkin has said participating in the choice-making is one of the most important symbols to show love for the country.”

Slotkin decided before voting took place to publicly endorse Democrat Joe Biden in the year’s primary. 

Infographic listing some of the candidates and topics voters may have seen on their ballot. Credit: Lauren Buchko

Trowbridge said he has definitely noticed a higher turnout during campaign events. “Slotkin realizes there’s a lot of attention on Michigan during the primaries,” he said.  “It’s kind of like a ‘ground zero’ when it comes to a campaign.”

Representing the district

Trowbridge said it’s quite a bit of work for Slotkin to represent Michigan while in Washington D.C. because of the complicated schedule, but she works to represent as best as she can.

Meridian Township wants a president to be a change agent

With the 2020 presidential election top of mind, some Meridian Township residents said they want a leader with a strong moral compass and who will improve the health care system. 

Sarah Howard, a Meridian Township resident, said even though she doesn’t keep up with the candidates’ positions, she wants to see a huge change. “I don’t think our healthcare system makes any sense,” said Howard. “I appreciate that we are trying to move toward a socialized health care system, but I do not think the current system makes financial sense.” 

Howard is also concerned that social media may become a greater issue with the next leader elected in office. She wishes media would report on more real issues instead of hot topics. Howard said: “I think most of the other changes I want to see are more social than something that has to do directly with the presidency.

College student indoors

Democratic primary upends familiar family vote pattern

Young voters will go to this year’s polls with information they’ve obtained through their experiences, their peers and maybe even their parents. Will they follow their parents, or rebel? Christopher Ojeda, an assistant professor at the University of Tennessee, studies that. He did a study called “Accounting for the Child in the Transmission of Party Identification,” in 2015. He said household party affiliation can make it easier for young voters to decide. But affiliations might not be helpful in this Democratic primary. 

“In a general election when there are two candidates … it’s kind of easy for kids to use the party identification to make decisions about who to support,” he said.

Matt Grossmann, director of the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research, explains the role media plays in elections during his Five Things to Know About the 2020 Primaries event.

Social media have changed political discourse

Google was created in 1998. Eight years later Facebook was launched. Fast forward to 2006 and Twitter. In 2010, Instagram was created. 

In the past two decades, the number of social media platforms has expanded significantly. All of these and the many other forms of media have allowed news to move across the world in seconds.