Exercising your right to vote

Updated: Friday, November 8, 2013
Exercising your right to vote story image
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Although there has been a lot said and written about Tuesday's elections--about the issues, about the candidates, about who won, the sad fact is that these matters are being decided by fewer and fewer voters almost every year.

Tonight, in Tom's Corner, Tom Van Howe says it should be a high priority to find a way to reconnect voters to the ballot box.

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It's a given that off-year elections don't have the sex appeal of a Presidential battle with Congressional seats at stake.

But this is getting a little scary.

In Kalamazoo: okay, the ballot was boring. But 13 percent? That's really all we care?

In Jackson, election officials were pretty excited because 18 percent turned out to elect a Mayor and decriminalize marijuana.

Six months from now when somebody who didn't vote starts complaining—and they will—you have the authority to turn your back or cover your ears. It's maddening.

And its not just here. After 43 years of really horrible criminal leadership, the city of Detroit elected a new Mayor. Someone to lead them out of the quagmire of bankruptcy into a new day. Only one in four registered voters took the time. Twenty-five percent!

And as dismal as that might seem, it's not that bad in comparison with other cities. New York City—22 percent. In 1950 it was 93 percent.

Atlanta, 17 percent. Pittsburgh, 20 percent. Miami, a measly 11 percent. How low do we go before we just cancel them for lack of interest?

In Virginia, where they actually elected a Governor, where the result was hailed as a victory over the tea party, only 37 percent bothered.

A recent study on voter attitudes said they think their votes don't count, and that anyway they're just too busy or they just don't care.

We are the United States of America. Millions of men have been wounded or killed in battle protecting our highly vaunted right to choose our own destiny. And we're too busy? We don't care? We're just too apathetic to take the time?

Granted, voting can be inconvenient. But it ought to be considered an honor. True, some candidates are insufferable.

But the only way to get them out is to vote them out. And to do that you have to get off your butt and cast your vote.

For the record, annual turnout for nationwide elections in Demark is 85 percent. In the Netherlands it's 75 to 80 percent. In the UK it's 66 percent. And here in the United States, the best we can muster in even the most frenetic national election is 65 percent.

So here's an idea.

Our choice of a Tuesday in early November as Election Day came about roughly 170 years ago when farmers had harvested their crops, could go to church on Sunday, and then make the often day-long trip into the cities to cast their votes.

It made sense then—but not anymore.

So, how about a two or three-day Election Day holiday? Turn it into an event; a time for last minute debate.

A time for celebrating what we do here; a time to allow no one an excuse for not getting down to the precinct and  marking a ballot.

We have to do something to reconnect with voters. Or we will become a government of, by, and for just a few of the people. We're on our way their now.

In this corner...I'm Tom Van Howe.

Business News

Last Update on July 30, 2015 07:34 GMT

ECONOMY-THE DAY AHEAD

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Labor Department will report today on the number of people who applied for unemployment benefits last week.

The Commerce Department will also issue the first of three estimates of how the U.S. economy performed in the April-June quarter. In the first three months of the year, the economy shrank at an annual rate of 0.2 percent.

Also today, Freddie Mac will report on average mortgage rates and Zillow will release its latest data on rental prices around the country. The report is likely to show that rents continue to climb amid strong demand for apartments

Procter & Gamble will report quarterly financial results before the market opens.

Amgen and LinkedIn will report after the closing bell.

HOME RENTAL PRICES

WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. home rental prices climbed much faster than incomes in June. But there are signs of slowing momentum around New York, Los Angeles and Washington.

Real estate data firm Zillow says that U.S. rental prices rose a seasonally adjusted 4.3 percent in June from a year ago, roughly matching the same pace as in May.

Rents continue to jump at double-digit rates in Denver, San Francisco and San Jose, California. But the monthly data suggests that several other major markets have either added enough new buildings or prices have pushed residents to their financial limits and cannot rise further.

Median prices slipped month over month in the New York metro area by $15 to $2,340, while also dropping slightly in Washington and flat-lining in Los Angeles.

SKOREA-EARNS-SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- Samsung Electronics is reporting a fifth straight quarterly profit drop as the Galaxy S6 series of smartphones failed to reverse its declining fortune in the smartphone industry.

Samsung's April-June net income was 5.8 trillion won ($5 billion), down 8 percent from 6.3 trillion won a year earlier. A FactSet survey of analysts predicted 5.6 trillion won of net income.

Sales fell 7 percent over a year earlier to 48.5 trillion won while operating income dropped 4 percent to 6.9 trillion won, in line with its earnings preview earlier this month.

A robust performance at its semiconductor department helped narrow the profit decline. Operating income from its semiconductor division surpassed the 3 trillion won mark for the first time in multiple years.

But the launch of the latest flagship smartphones, the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge smartphones, were not enough to halt its decline in the smartphone industry.

FINLAND-EARNS-NOKIA

HELSINKI (AP) -- Telecommunications and wireless equipment maker Nokia Corp. says second-quarter net profit was (euro) 347 million euros ($383 million), with growth particularly strong in its core networks division.

Overall sales increased 9 percent to 3.2 billion euros, with higher software sales and global demand for mobile broadband. Net profit a year earlier was 213 million euros but is not directly comparable because of discontinued operations.

CEO Rajeev Suri says all three of the Finnish company's remaining business sectors performed very well and it was "well positioned to deliver on our full-year 2015 commitments."

Nokia, which was unable to meet the challenges of Apple, Samsung and Asian phone makers, has seen a turnaround in its business since selling its ailing handset unit to Microsoft for 5.4 billion euros in 2013.

GERMANY-EARNS-LUFTHANSA

BERLIN (AP) -- Lufthansa says its earnings trebled in the second quarter compared with a year earlier, helped by falling fuel costs.

Deutsche Lufthansa AG, which includes airlines such as Swiss, Austrian Airlines and Germanwings, reports net earnings of 529 million euros ($584 million) for the April-June period, up from 173 million euros a year earlier. Revenue rose 8.9 percent to 8.39 billion euros from 7.7 billion euros.

Lufthansa confirmed its full-year outlook for adjusted pre-tax earnings of over 1.5 billion euros before strike costs.

The second quarter saw no strikes by Lufthansa's pilots in a long-running dispute that has led to repeated disruptions.

Chief financial officer Simone Menne says, alongside "extra momentum" for Lufthansa's passenger airlines, "the fall in fuel costs is largely responsible for the improvement in our results."

FORD F-150-CRASH TESTS

DETROIT (AP) -- Ford's aluminum-sided F-150 pickup saw mixed results in new crash tests.

The four-door Super Crew version of the 2015 F-150 got top ratings in all five crash tests performed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. For now, it is the only full-size truck on the market with the institute's "Top Safety Pick" rating.

But the smaller Super Cab version did poorly on one frontal crash test.

The insurance institute says aluminum is safe and performed well. The different results were due to a design difference in the steel frame beneath the aluminum sides.

Ford noted that the trucks earned the government's top safety ratings. But it says it will improve the design of the Super Cab and Regular Cab trucks in 2016 so they perform better in front crashes.

BOEING-OKLAHOMA

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Boeing has broken ground on a new $80 million, 290,000-square-foot building that will house about 800 new employees and be the third structure in the aerospace company's growing Oklahoma City campus.

The Chicago-based Boeing also announced that the headquarters of the Global Services & Support unit's Aircraft Modernization and Sustainment division will relocate to Oklahoma City.

Boeing also says the Aircraft Modernization and Sustainment division, which provides aircraft services for executive transport, airborne refueling, airborne command and control and global strike capabilities, is relocating from St. Louis.

Oklahoma City officials have estimated the expansion will have an economic impact of $637.7 million over four years. Earlier this year, the city agreed to $6 million in job creation incentives for Boeing.

Boeing announced plans last year to move most of its defense and support-related services from Washington state to other areas as part of its efforts to improve the competitiveness of the Defense, Space & Security unit. The company said about 2,000 employees could be affected, with 900 jobs possibly moving to Oklahoma City and up to 500 to St. Louis in about three years.

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