A lot of people, confronted with a long ballot, just check the party line and vote for all the candidates of a certain party. I've never done that, partly because I like filling in all those bubbles, and partly because I like thinking that I am deciding about each candidate based on her or his merits. [Even though I do usually vote just one party. . . it's not 100% of the time.
If like me, you vote each candidate individually, you probably won't miss the other half of the ballot, but if you vote the party line with a single mark, you might.
That's right, there's a non-partisan part of the ballot. It includes the proposals (more on those in a few days); any millages; judicial candidates; library boards; school boards; and community college boards. I've got links to the school-related candidate information here.
The judicial candidates are extremely important for education too. Here are just two examples of cases that are education-related that are going through the court systems right now. Both of these have been brought by the ACLU of Michigan.
Case #1: Lawsuit over domestic partner benefits for public servants. Two of the plaintiffs are Ann Arbor teachers.
Case #2: Lawsuit over the right to an education. The lawsuit focuses on the Highland Park school district's failure to educate students.
So yes, it does matter that you vote in the judicial elections. For some unbiased information, try the League of Women Voters.
In the case of the state Supreme Court, the candidates are nominated at the state party conventions, and then they run on a non-partisan ballot. (To my mind, that makes even less sense than if they just had a non-partisan ballot, but that is how it is.)
So the Democrats in the Supreme Court race are: Judge Connie Marie Kelley, Judge Shelia Johnson and Bridget Mary McCormack. That's who I am voting for!
Bridget Mary McCormack has a sister who was an actress on the West Wing. She brought the cast of West Wing together to promote voting the non-partisan part of the ballot.
Yes, DO vote on proposals, millages, boards, and judicial candidates. Please.
This video is actually quite fun, even if you (like me) never really watched West Wing, and no matter which candidates are the ones you support.