Time running out to register to vote Aug. 2

The 2016 primary election Aug. 2 in Michigan will help sort out the final candidates for the 1st Congressional seat in the Upper Peninsula, along with the 108th District state House seat being vacated by state Rep. Ed McBroom of Vulcan due to term limits.

Three Republicans – Jason Allen, Jack Bergman and state Sen. Tom Casperson – and two Democrats, Jerry Cannon and Lon Johnson, have declared to replace outgoing U.S. Rep. Dan Benishek, R-Crystal Falls.

Another five candidates – Republicans Alan Arcand, Beau LaFave and Darryl Shann, along with Democrats Scott Celello and Dana Dziedzic – want to succeed McBroom.

The Aug. 2 vote will narrow the field for both races down to one Republican and one Democrat for the Nov. 8 general election.

So there’s good reason to go to the polls in August. Just make sure you can.

The deadline for registering to vote for the Aug. 2 primary is Tuesday. That’s only a week away.

Again, that’s only a week away.

This is the chance to have a say in setting the direction for your state and country. Not participating is basically forfeiting your right – some would say duty – to take part in the electoral process.

In other words, let this opportunity pass and you have little basis to complain about what the government does for at least the next two years.

The stakes rise in November, when the president and a U.S. senate race will be up for vote along with the other state and county elected positions.

To be able to vote:

– Applicants must be at least 18 years old by election day Aug. 2 and U.S. citizens. Applicants also must be residents of Michigan and of the city or township in which they wish to register.

– Voters may register by mail or in person at their county, city or township clerk’s office or by going to any Secretary of State office. The mail-in form is available at www.Michigan.gov/elections. First-time voters who register by mail must vote in person in their first election, unless they hand-deliver the application to their local clerk, are 60 years old or older, are disabled or are eligible to vote under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act.

To check registration status, go to the Michigan Voter Information Center at www.Michigan.gov/vote. A sample ballot and polling place information are available there as well. Residents also can find information on absentee voting, Michigan’s voter identification requirement, how to use voting equipment and how to contact their local clerk.