Where were all the Michigan voters?

TRAVERSE CITY — More than 2 million voters turned out for the August primary in Michigan. That’s a record by a wide margin. But is it good? No. Not at all. There are just shy of 10 million people living in Michigan. About three quarters of them are eligible to vote, meaning only about a quarter of the people who could have voted actually did. As the Trumpster would say: “Sad!”

– If you hooked them to a lie detector, people who habitually don’t vote would say, “I just don’t care” or “One vote doesn’t matter.” Which is sometimes true, but a whole lot of “just one” votes do matter. A lot.

– But another issue is summer. Why in the world does Michigan hold any election, much less a primary, in August? It makes no sense. People are on vacation, mentally or physically. Their minds aren’t on elections. So why do we do that? Part of the answer is because “that’s how we’ve always done it.” Another part is schools and other entities seeking money purposely get on the ballot in August precisely because there will be far fewer votes. All they have to do is turn out their core of supporters, and voila.

– Another reason people don’t vote is Tuesday. Who ordained that, and why? It makes no sense to have an election on a weekday when most people are working. Elections should either be a week long or on a weekend.

– Now that I’ve solved our election problems, let’s fix MSU. The cover of the current edition of the alumni magazine features a self-congratulatory, happy-talk quote from MSU president John Engler about the shameful Larry Nassar case: “The university, which faced the most difficult challenge in its history, has emerged and is going to be stronger, safer and more competitive before.” That may be true, but you also don’t erase stains by pretending they don’t exist, and that’s what this cover attempts to do. What’s worse is Engler nixed the original cover featuring a woman wearing teal lipstick, the color of support for sexual assault victims. And his comment suggesting this is about the university and not the girls and women who were assaulted is both appalling and proves that he just doesn’t get it and never will. Engler is not the one to fix the culture at MSU that enabled this scandal. In fact, he’s making it worse.

– You know what I miss? Old school miniature golf courses. The ones with right angles and 2x4s and windmills and clown faces. I don’t like the “new” ones that channel the ball to within a foot of the hole no matter how bad your aim is. Those were invented to feed more people through the course faster. Profit over fun. I protest.

– Why do colleges still start classes before Labor Day? Nothing gets done. It’s a waste of time and money. And wasting money is a crime when colleges are charging so much. When I went to school, a credit hour cost about $40. Not it’s more than $400. No wonder kids graduate owning the equivalent of a home mortgage. Student debt and bankruptcies will be the next great financial crisis. You watch.

“From this instant on, vow to stop disappointing yourself. Decide to be extraordinary and do what you need to do.” – Epictetus.

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Andrew Heller, an award-winning newspaper columnist, appears weekly in the Daily Press. He graduated from Escanaba Area High School in 1979. Follow him at andrewheller.com and on Facebook and Twitter. Write to him via email at andrewhellercolumn@gmail.com.

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