Democracy, it's been said, is a participation sport.
Democracy only works if the people participate in the system.
For most folks, that means voting. On Tuesday, we have an opportunity to participate. Do not take this opportunity lightly.
"It only takes a few minutes to participate in one of our country's basic freedoms," said Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, Michigan's chief elections officer. "If your community has an election Tuesday, please cast your ballot."
Elections will be held in 42 of Michigan's 83 counties, including Dickinson County.
Locally, Iron Mountain Public Schools and Dickinson County will be holding elections on Tuesday, Feb. 26.
Iron Mountain Schools is holding a School Improvement Bond Proposition.
The school district wants to borrow $9.5 million and issue general obligation bonds to improve school facilities, technology systems and equipment.
The estimated millage that will be levied to pay the proposed bonds in the first year is 2.27 mills. The maximum number of years the proposed bonds may be outstanding is not more than 18.
The estimated simple average annual millage that will be required to retire the proposed bonds over 18 years is 3.80 mills annually.
Additionally, Dickinson County is conducting an Enhanced 911 Millage vote on Tuesday.
Voters will be asked to approve 0.4 mills for a period of three years to operate and equip an Enhanced 911 system at the Dickinson County Correctional Center.
Polls are open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The Michigan Voter Information Center can help residents determine whether they're registered to vote, direct them to their polling location and provide a sample ballot. The website is www.Michigan.gov/vote.
There is still time for voters to obtain an absentee ballot. As a registered voter, you may obtain an absentee ballot if you are:
- Age 60 or older.
- Physically unable to attend the polls without the assistance of another.
- Expecting to be out of town for the entire time the polls are open on Election Day.
- In jail awaiting arraignment or trial.
- Unable to attend the polls due to religious reasons.
- Appointed to work as an election inspector in a precinct outside of your precinct of residence.
Those who wish to receive their absentee ballot by mail must submit their application by 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23. Absentee ballots can be obtained in person anytime through 4 p.m. Monday, Feb. 25.
Voters who request an absentee ballot in person on Monday, Feb. 25 must vote the ballot in the clerk's office. Emergency absentee ballots are available under certain conditions through 4 p.m. on Election Day, Johnson said.
Residents who registered to vote by mail or via a voter registration drive and have never voted in Michigan are not eligible to vote by absentee ballot in their first election. They must vote in person at their precinct. This restriction does not apply to voters who are overseas, disabled or 60 or older.
Absentee voters should remember to sign the return envelope. If a voter receives assistance in preparing the ballot, the signature of the person providing the assistance must also be on the return envelope. Signed absentee ballots can only be returned to a clerk's office by the voter, a family member or person residing in the voter's household, a mail carrier or election official, Johnson said.
Voters are also reminded of the identification requirement.
They will be asked to present photo ID at the polls, such as a Michigan driver's license or identification card.
Anyone who does not have an acceptable form of photo ID or failed to bring it with them can still vote. They will sign a brief affidavit stating that they're not in possession of a photo ID.
Their ballots will be included with all others and counted on Election Day.
A specially equipped voting station called the AutoMARK Voter Assist Terminal is also available at each polling location for use by voters with disabilities, Johnson said.