PROOS: Let your voice be heard by voting

The freedom to choose or reject our leaders makes us the beacon of liberty in the world, yet voter turnout remains low.

In 1960, nearly 73 percent of the voting age population in Michigan voted. That figure dropped to as low as 54.5 percent in 1996 and has since rebounded to 63 percent in 2016. Although a 63 percent turnout is lower than we would hope to see, it is huge compared to the 41.6 percent turnout in the 2014 election.

I encourage all citizens to let their voices be heard by getting out to vote. Election Day is Nov. 6, and the polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m.

If you do not know where you’re supposed to go to vote, visit the Michigan Voter Information Center at: michigan.gov/vote. Enter your first and last name, date of birth and residential ZIP code, and the website will give you the address and a map of your polling location.

The site also allows voters to view a sample of their ballot online.

Voters may also get their polling location information by contacting their county clerk’s office at (269) 983-7111 ext. 8264 in Berrien County and (269) 445-4464 in Cass County.

When voters go to the polls to cast a ballot, they will be asked to present photo identification, such as a Michigan driver’s license or state-issued ID card. The voter information center site details the acceptable forms of ID, but if you do not have photo ID or do not bring it with you to the polls, you may still vote. Simply sign an affidavit and your ballot will be counted.

I also urge southwest Michigan voters to learn as much as possible about the candidates and the issues. We continue to face challenges, and we need effective leaders at every level who are able to deliver positive results.

Please exercise your constitutional right to vote. Every vote matters and sometimes a single vote can make all the difference. Your voice could help determine the direction of our local communities, our state and our nation.

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