89.1 WEMU

In The Public Interest: Navigating The Logistics Of Voting

Sep 10, 2018

Kathy Whitaker of the League of Women Voters of the Ann Arbor Area
Credit Grace Yoon-Aie Pang

The League of Women Voters of the Ann Arbor Area is working to help seniors register to vote, apply for absent voter ballots, and get on the permanent absent voter list, but never with the actual ballot itself.  This week, on "In the Public Interest," 89.1 WEMU's Lisa Barry talks to League of Women Voters member Kathy Whitaker about helping seniors engage in the democratic process.


Kathy Whitaker represents the League of Women Voters of the Ann Arbor Area.  Her job is to get senior citizens more involved in the voting process, regardless of health or living situations.  She and other volunteers from the League usually host outreach seminars at retirement homes and assisted living facilities.

Kathy mentions one option to help senior voters--be put on a "permanent list."  By placing their names on this list, potential voters will be mailed reminders to apply for an absentee ballot.  Of course, these are only reminders and not actual ballots.

Senior turnout has affected prior elections.  In the 2014 election, in which Governor Rick Snyder was reelected, out of the 97% of Michigan residents of voting age, there was only a 42% turnout at the polls.  However, the turnout was 63% for the 2016 election, in which Donald Trump was elected president.

Kathy determines a number of factors are involved, such as income and education.  In the case of senior voters, overall health plays a role as well.

The deadline to register to vote this fall is Tuesday, October 9.  To learn more, visit the State of Michigan's website or Vote 411.  You can also e-mail the League of Women Voters of the Ann Arbor Area about registration or about hosting voting events.

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— Lisa Barry is the host of All Things Considered on WEMU. You can contact Lisa at 734.487.3363, on Twitter @LisaWEMU, or email her at lbarryma@emich.edu