Final Steps to Elect RIPARIAN-MINDED Candidates

 by Paul J. Sniadecki, President, Eagle Lake Improvement Association, Inc.

As this e-newsletter is being distributed, the 2012 General Election is less than 2 months away. It is time to take the final steps that can help secure the “win” for riparian minded candidates who made it through the primary process, or who will appear as Independents on the General Election ballot.  All of these steps involve little to no cost. However, they do require your “personal” involvement in the election process.

 The first “personal” step to take is to ensure you, and all of your fellow Riparians, are registered and have a plan to vote.  The table below shows the applicable deadlines/timeline:

October 9, 2012 Last date to register to Vote in November General Election.
By 2:00 p.m., Nov. 3, 2012 Electors who wish to receive an absent voter ballot for the November General Election by mail submit absent voter ballot applications.
Up to 4:00 p.m., Nov. 5, 2012 Electors qualified to obtain an absent voter ballot for Nov. General Election may vote in person in clerk’s office.
Up to 4:00 p.m., Nov. 6 2012 Emergency absentee voting for November General Election.
Nov. 6, 2012 Vote in Person, November General Election

A second step that can be taken is to use your “personal” freedom of speech right to express your support. Many candidates will purchase election period “yard signs” and posters. Depending on their campaign finances, you can either obtain them “free” or via a nominal campaign donation to cover the cost. Be sure to check your local ordinances for sign limits.  Municipalities can regulate the display location and sign dimensions, but not your freedom to express your opinions. Look for what is not regulated. Many times you can put signs/posters on your vehicle or in residence windows (even on your boat) and not be confined to “election time” posting requirements.  You could also be creative (in good taste) with your neighbors and make unique message signs that can voice the issues or highlight your candidate.  This could involve placing the signs in intervals on neighboring properties to create the iconic “Burma Shave” message effect.  Of course, the last sign should say “Elect Candidate _____” in place of “Burma Shave.” If you have no respectable candidates running in your area, you might even express your concerns by posting signs that declare “Vote for Anybody but _____ .”  The point is to generate interest in your candidate or give a voice to important issues.  You might even generate media attention that will result in ”free” TV or newspaper coverage. If you are unsure of how to handle an aggressive reporter, you can merely answer questions by saying, “The signs say what they say” or “We are expressing our opinions, nothing more, nothing less” and then say “Thanks” and end the interview by walking away.

 A third step involves “free” coverage for your candidate or issue by writing letters to your Newspaper Editor.  Many publications will publish these on, or near, the Editorial Page as long as you express your “personal” opinion on the qualifications of a candidate, or why a specific Riparian issue is important for your area.

 The fourth and final step to take might be to “personally” file and run as a “Write-in” Candidate. The deadline to do is by 4:00 p.m. Oct. 26, 2012, when the  Declaration of Intent forms for the November general election have to be filed with your Clerk’s Office. (See Mich. Election Law section 168.737a)

Editor’s Note: This is the 11th in a yearlong series of articles that will appear in this newsletter regarding the upcoming general election. As Mr. Sniadecki has so effectively illustrated in his articles, local elections in particular present Michigan voters with an outstanding opportunity to foster constructive, community-based pre-election discussion and debate focused on the important role of local government in the wise management of Michigan’s wealth of lake and stream resources. You and your neighbors are uniquely empowered to affect the outcome of local elections and the future of your favorite lake or stream!

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