A bit of information and a story to go with
By Ken DeLaat
Next Tuesday, November 7th voters will go to the polls to elect city council members and mayors in four of our local cities.
We begin in Fremont where incumbent James Rynberg faces opposition for the city’s top spot from Beverly Parketon. Mr. Rynberg has occupied the Mayor’s office since 2004. There are three candidates for the two four -year terms on the City Council. Incumbents Donald Henry and Michael Carpenter as well as candidate Steven Heiss will be vying for the two openings while Sandra Siegel will be running unopposed for a partial term.
In White Cloud with acting Mayor Charles Chandler returning to his seat on the council two candidates have come forward to claim that office giving voters in the city a choice between Jamie Denslow and Jerry LeBlanc.
On the council four candidates are running for three positions. Current Council Members Jeffrey Murchison and Katherine (Kay) Scott are joined by Anthony Johnson and Amber Zatalokin on the ballot.
The Newaygo mayoral race pits incumbent Ed Fedell against Brooke Shaffer. There are three candidates for the three seats on the council so the only competition for Eric Johnson Mike Hikade and Roger Ederer will be to see who gets the most votes.
Meanwhile not only is Grant Mayor Julie Hallman running unopposed, there are but two candidates on the ballot for three available seats on the council. That means they will be adding a write in candidate should there be even one such ballot cast and two ballots for two people would mean a tie.
And this leads me to my story.
I once finished in an 8 way tie for Constable of Cascade Township. Someone I knew had written my name in as a joke because no one was running and I got a letter stating I had tied as one of 8 top vote getters (1 vote apiece) and that the election would be decided by a draw.
I didn’t get the draw.
Hence my claim to have never been defeated in a political campaign while generally omitting that I have never won one either.
Probably a good thing. I turned 21 about a week before the election and had spent the summer kind of knocking around the country a bit visiting places I’d never been, encountering a rather unusual yet fascinating array of folks and gathering a substantial collection of appealing experiences.
In short it wasn’t a good time to be taking on anything resembling a commitment on the scale of where I might be in the next few days much less something possessing the magnitude of commitment public office was likely to bring.
Besides I had no clue whatsoever regarding what the duties of a Constable.might be and even more to the point there existed not a single shred of curiosity in me to find out.
So I didn’t even attend the drawing. My fantasy was that it would be the 8 of us sitting in a circle with serious looking expressions as a guy in a tux spun slowly holding out 8 lengths of straws we were forced to consider selecting with no information on who could draw when.
But like I said, I didn’t go.
Since those days life has shifted several times with the advent of marriage, children, careers and all that stuff that provides other types of appealing experiences I suppose.
As for politics?
Oh, there was an effort made a few election cycles back when I announced a runfor office under the Controlled Apathy ticket (Motto: "Vote For Ken He Won’t Do Anything” ) . The caveat was the decision made to not commit to any particular office, while embracing all-inclusive accountability ("Vote For Ken, It’s His Fault”).
The campaign really never got much traction though Tire Wholesalers in Fremont helped out with a bit of signage if I recall correctly.
And while a reputation for making light of all things political and otherwise continues to be a constant companion I tend to take my voting very seriously. I am a regular visitor to the polls, and remain puzzled by those who take the time to register and do not vote.
This coming week if one of the aforementioned elections pulls 25% of registered voters in it will likely be at the top of voter participation among area cities.
25%. One in four. One in four that are registered so we’re not counting eligible non registrants.
If you get half the vote that means perhaps about 1 in 8 of the registered voters folks in your town thought the electee was a good idea
And that’s at 25%.Off-year election sometimes draw as few as 15% meaning the election was decided by 1 in 12 of the voters in town.
So look around where you live and think about the folks you know and let’s say 1 in 10 or so are picked randomly regardless of how their opinions differ from yours. Now think as to whether or not you would be comfortable having any aspect of your life whatsoever decided by those randomly selected 10%.
Then make plans to vote next Tuesday.
“Every election is determined by the people who show up.”-Larry J Sabato
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