Can we fix it?

In addition to voting in the upcoming elections for prominent governmental figures in Michigan, state residents should also seize a unique opportunity to revise the state constitution.

In 1963, Michigan introduced a new state constitution that many considered more relevant to the state’s changing political, economic and social climate. Since then, voters have had the opportunity every 16 years to revise the constitution again if they deem it necessary. Thus far, Michiganders have opted to keep the current constitution, but in light of Michigan’s recent slump in some areas, revising the constitution may be the next step to turning the state around.

If citizens vote against a revision, the constitution simply stays as is until the topic is reopened in 2026. If the public decides a change is in order, a committee of 148 delegates would be selected to come up with a new proposal, which the voters would then approve before it becomes the official new constitution. This is an important opportunity to redefine Michigan’s values, and college students should realize the significant role they can have in making it happen.

Only 52.4 percent of the college-aged population, 18-24, voted in the 2008 election, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. If every student would take an active role in the polls, whether voting in favor of a new constitution or not, this demographic can influence Michigan’s future for the next 16 years.

There is no guarantee on how the new constitution will change. There is no deadline for when a decision would have to be made, but in light of Michigan’s current condition with an unemployment rate above the nation’s average, an overdrawn state budget and a faltering auto industry, practically any change would be welcome.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm is in favor of the convention, though gubernatorial candidates Rick Snyder ® and Virg Bernero (D) both oppose the ratification for various reasons.

Since 1850, Michigan has made changes to its constitution about every 50 years on average. Following this trend, the state is due for an upgraded policy. The current state of the economy is similar to the circumstances prompting the last revision.

Whatever a person’s political views and however he or she thinks the revisions should be made, voting for change is the first step. Student can play a significant part in this and should not let this opportunity pass by them.