Snyder, left, and Bernero )
Rick Snyder is a political newcomer who wants Michigan voters to make him the state’s next governor on Nov. 2.
But in the past five years, Snyder himself hasn’t always made it to the polls on Election Day, records show. Since 2005, he’s missed five of the last 13 elections. He did not vote in three Ann Arbor schools elections and he didn’t vote in 2006 when his township had a ballot question about its growth management plan.
More recently, the Republican nominee failed to cast a ballot in the August 2008 state primary. Although there were no contested races in that election, his township, Superior, had two millage renewals on the ballot, records show. Both passed.
Over the same period, his opponent, Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero, voted in every election.
Snyder spokesman Bill Nowling said it’s not unusual for people like Snyder, who travels often for business, to miss an election or two. “The issue is not Rick’s voting record. The issue is Rick’s vision for Michigan’s future,” Nowling said.
Bernero spokesman Cullen Schwarz declined to comment on Snyder’s voting record. “The people can judge,” he said.
“Virg works hard every day to help improve his community. He believes it’s important for a leader to care enough to be highly involved in issues affecting our state, our cities, and our schools,” Schwarz said.
In some of the elections that Snyder missed, he didn’t miss much. In May 2007, just over 4 percent of the registered voters in Superior Township cast ballots. The only issue to affect Snyder was an uncontested race for the Ann Arbor School Board.
Nowling said many people vote in school races because their children attend the districts. He noted that Snyder’s children have attended Greenhills School, a private independent school in Ann Arbor, and not the city’s public schools.
Nowling said voters will be more interested in hearing about Snyder’s plan to create jobs in the state.
Snyder, since leaving as CEO of computer company Gateway, has been an active venture capitalist helping start-up companies, some of which are in Michigan.
Jessica Reiser, president of the League of Women Voters of Michigan, declined to judge either Snyder or Bernero’s voting records.
Instead, she said the nonpartisan organization wants citizens to be “involved in democracy. And voting is the best way to do that,” she said.
“To make a democracy work, we have to have citizens be involved,” she said.
“We would encourage everyone to vote at every opportunity.”