Exercising Your Right to Vote Begins with Registering by Oct. 9

I want to encourage all Southwest Michigan residents to exercise their constitutional right to vote, which starts with ensuring you’re registered.

Our country was founded on the revolutionary idea that our rights don’t come from our government, they are endowed upon us by our Creator. This freedom to choose our leaders makes us the beacon of liberty in the world. People in countries worldwide have fought and continue to fight for what many of us take for granted: the right to vote.

While voter turnout nationwide remains lower than it should be, I am proud that in Michigan’s Great Southwest we have an engaged citizenry that turns out to vote.

I would also urge you to learn as much as you can about the candidates and the issues. An informed voter is a responsible voter. While our state and nation continue to face complex problems, we need effective leaders who are willing to take on these problems and fix them.

To vote in the November election, you must be registered one month beforehand. This means you need to register by Oct. 9.

If you are not registered to vote or if you do not know if you’re registered, visit the Michigan Voter Information Center at: http://www.michigan.gov/vote.

The site enables you to check your voter registration status and learn how to register. For more comprehensive voter and election information visit the Michigan secretary of state’s website at: http://www.michigan.gov/sos.

Elections are a vital component to our democratic republic. By voting, you help make our state and nation stronger and keep your leaders accountable.