Houghton residents Chalk the Vote
HOUGHTON — Sunday morning, Jana Nyberg and her family filled the sidewalk next to the Portage Lake District Library with colorful designs, voter information messages and slogans like “Vote out hate.”
The drawings were part of #ChalkTheVote, a national get-out-the-vote effort in which families across the country chalked messages on the sidewalk encouraging residents to vote. It was organized by ParentsTogether, a non-profit providing news and commentary on issues affecting children and families, as part of its nonpartisan #FamilyVote campaign.
Nyberg, a Houghton resident, said she had gotten interested after seeing it in ParentsTogether’s social media posts.
“We’re looking to help to get out the vote and teach their children about that and why it’s important,” she said. “We have an opportunity to vote for empathy and compassion, and I think it’s important to teach our children the process and how we have a voice.”
Helping Nyberg out Sunday were her husband, Adam, and her two sons, Auggie, 5, and Hobbes, 2.
The drawings included directions to the ballot drop box at the Houghton City Center.
The Nyberg parents had already dropped their ballots off there. At home, the children got to see them research the local and national issues before filling out their ballot. Having only lived in the area for a couple of years, many of the candidates are new to them, Adam said.
“We spent a bunch of time watching videos and researching people and they got to see that happen on the periphery,” he said. “They’re not really in the process with us because they’re so small, but they get to see us working on it and learning and trying to make good decisions.”
Both performers, Jana and Adam also played a candidate event where Auggie also sang and played.
“Families have an opportunity, especially this year, to teach about how things have been difficult and how this process can help us bring about the needed change to take care of the least of these,” Jana said.
Auggie said he thinks people should vote “because it’s important to share with people.”
For the general public who might see it while enjoying the waterfront, Jana hopes it is a “nudge to the ballot.”
“It’s important that you’re in there, making your voice heard and exercising our right to choose who represents us,” she said.
In addition to Houghton, local municipalities with drop boxes are: Adams Township, Calumet Township, Chassell Township, Hancock, Franklin Township, Osceola Township, Portage Township, Osceola Township, Stanton Township and Torch Lake Township in Houghton County, and Spurr Township in Baraga County. The League of Women Voters of the Copper Country keeps an updated list at its website, lwvccmi.org, which also has candidate interviews for local races.
Michigan voters can register to vote in-person as late as election day, Nov. 3, at their city, village or township clerk office. Otherwise, it must be filed — or if mailed, postmarked — 15 days before the election.
Michigan residents can file for absentee ballots in-person one day before the election. Mail or online applications must be received by four days before the election.
On Friday, a Michigan appeals court reinstated a deadline of 8 p.m. on election night for mail-in ballots to be received. Previously, they could be counted if postmarked the day before Election Day and they arrived within two weeks.