Elections are important

How would you like your neighbor to tell you what you’re having for supper tonight? Or when to cut your grass, or what color to paint your house?

Most people would not find that too appealing.

Why, then, would you let your neighbor determine your property tax bill, and who is going to be your spokesperson on the county board?

That’s what you’re doing when you don’t vote.

According to the Michigan Secretary of State’s office, some 1.3 million people voted on Tuesday, about 17.5 percent of the state’s voting-age population.

That’s not a record low, but close. The record low goes to the Michigan primary in 1990, when turnout was just 15 percent.

Upper Peninsula voter turnout numbers were nothing to brag about.

Keweenaw County, with the fewest registered voters of any county in Michigan, recorded the highest voter turnout in the Upper Peninsula at 33.4 percent, The Mining Journal of Marquette reported.

Menominee County registered the lowest at 9.5 percent.

According to numbers compiled by the Michigan Secretary of State’s Office, there were a total of 231,551 registered voters in the U.P. for Tuesday’s primary election.

The counties with the most registered voters included Marquette County with 49,141, Delta County with 28,988 and Chippewa County with 23,784. Keweenaw County had the fewest registered voters in Michigan with 1,926.

Across the Upper Peninsula, places like Delta and Chippewa counties, with contested primary races for state Senate and House, saw higher turnout percentages, The Mining Journal reported.

The U.P. turnout percentage totals were Alger, 17.3; Baraga,16.3; Chippewa, 22.9; Delta, 23.8; Dickinson, 14.5; Gogebic, 11.8; Houghton, 11.5; Iron, 18.3; Keweenaw, 33.4; Luce, 19.1; Mackinac, 24.1; Marquette, 16.7; Menominee, 9.5; Ontonagon, 15.5 and Schoolcraft, 15.8.

Across Michigan, the 17.5 percent voter turnout Tuesday was lower than 22 percent turnout in 2010 when there were contested Democrat and Republican gubernatorial primaries, but slightly up from 16.9 percent turnout in 2006 – another year of no contested governor’s race in the primary.

Some observers in Michigan feared record-low turnout on Tuesday. But at least 300,000 more residents voted this year than in 1990.

Let this be a lesson for Wisconsin residents who have their own primary election this coming Tuesday.

Wisconsin officials expect turnout then to be 15 percent. Let’s hope it is higher, much higher.

This year, there is a contested Democratic primary for governor between former state Commerce secretary and Trek Bicycles executive Mary Burke and State Rep. Brett Hulsey, of Madison.

There is also a Democratic primary in the attorney general’s race with State Rep. Jon Richards facing Jefferson County District Attorney Susan Happ and Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne.

Some local Wisconsin voters will choose candidates for the U.S. House on Aug. 12.

In District 7, which includes Florence and Forest counties, the primary races shape up as follows:

Democratic Primary

Kelly Westlund, a 31-year-old project management consultant for a farming cooperative who also serves on the Ashland City Council, against Mike Krsiean, an engineer and farmer from Houlton who has previously campaigned as a conservative independent.

Republican Primary

U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy of Hayward, a 42-year-old former reality television star, faces a primary challenge from Don Raihala, a 46-year-old real estate broker from Superior. Raihala ran as a Democrat for the seat in 2010.

These elections are important. Be sure to vote.