As a certified municipal clerk for several years now, I have seen a wide array of responses to the privilege of voting. I have met those who have been literally fighting for their life due to a disease or ailment, and still insisted on making sure that they had the opportunity to vote. Conversely, I know citizens of this amazing country who aren’t even registered to vote – and don’t intend to ever be. The response not only varies by the individual, but also can vary based on the type of election. Regardless of when the election is held or who or what is on the ballot, your vote has purpose.

Being an educated voter empowers you to vote with intention and purpose. The power of a vote requires the participation of the voter.

I am befuddled at the amount of voters that will vote in a federal election in comparison to a local election. I define local elections as “the time when 20 percent of the people decide for 100 percent of the people what will impact all of them in about 90 percent of their daily lives.” I am completely in support of voting in federal and/or state elections – we should vote in high numbers at these elections. At the same time, our local elections should see an equal amount of voters going to precincts. Local ballots consist of city council members and mayors; township trustees, supervisors, clerks and treasurers; and local millages and proposals. Your local officials are the ones adopting budgets, creating ordinances, determining public safety decisions, and voting on parks and recreation issues — to name a few. Our local officials are making decisions on the very items that we consider to be quality of life issues.

We live in an amazing country where many who have gone before us fought for our freedom to walk into a precinct, receive a ballot, and cast a vote. As voters, we all stand on equal footing. Your vote creates the world you will live in, shapes the ideology your children will be exposed to, and determines the rights and values that will become laws that govern your life. Your vote has power. Your vote is your voice. Are you willing to be silent?

Tina Barton

city clerk, Rochester Hills

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