GV area voters identify top issues ahead of Election Day


GVL / Macayla Cramer

Joseph Poulos, Staff Writer

With polls across Michigan set to open this week on Nov. 8, major issues of contention have become clear motivators for voters.

While statewide polling has been able to identify which issues are most salient for voters, including issues regarding inflation and reproductive rights, such polling is unable to target the feelings and motivations of voters in specific areas.

In one such area, student voters at Grand Valley State University as well as community members in the area are all looking to have their voices heard on a multitude of issues at the top of their minds.

Many issues are at stake this year, including women’s reproductive rights, voter rights and transparency for elected officials.

Grand Rapids Community College student Sabian Makepeace is looking forward to voting on many issues.

“I will be voting to protect freedom of thought and speech, protecting the unborn and for the decline in power of pharmaceutical companies,” Makepeace said.

For Makepeace, less government interference is better, and having their hands out of citizens’ personal lives is a must.

“I feel closer to the Republicans and Libertarians for many reasons such as protection of the unborn,” Makepeace said. “Getting rid of unconditional gun bans is important. Opening up school choice allows parents to teach rather than forced public schools. We need to regulate transition surgery for children at an age around 18 to make lifelong decisions which may end up leading to suicide and unknown effects to the children taking hormone blockers.”

Nik Tompkins, a GVSU student, is more interested in women’s rights and freedom. For him, the decision was easy.

“I will be voting Democrat,” Tompkins said. “While I don’t align with either party, I find that, especially this election cycle, the Democratic Party is pushing for more ideas that affect me and that I support. (This is) in comparison to the Republican Party, whose only goals currently seem to be to oppose the Democratic Party and restrict the rights of many.”

Tompkins said he has paid special attention to the proposals being offered and considered for enshrinement in law.

“The issue this election cycle that I care the most about is Proposal 3 and ensuring that reproductive rights are protected and upheld,” Tompkins said.  “With that, I am also in support of Proposal 1 and 2, and helping to create a more fair, accurate and inviting political atmosphere within Michigan.”

Drew Jones, a GVSU student, is looking more toward policy than one individual candidate.

“This November, the primary issues I am voting on are criminal policy and environmental policy,” Jones said.

Jones said he is concerned about the environment and the state of Michigan, and said his interests align with those of the Democratic Party.

“I am voting for the Democratic ticket because of their stances on abortion law and small crime prosecution,” Jones said. “I also support their environmental initiatives as the Great Lakes are of utmost importance and must be protected from pollution.”

Women’s reproductive rights remain a hot-button issue as both parties fight to assert their dominance.

While many students and citizens are excited to get through the elections this week, most citizens already know which way they will be voting.

One such citizen is filmmaker Robert Butler, who has his eyes affixed to the gubernatorial election.

“(Tudor Dixon) is an enabler for a very divisive president and kind of stands for this new guard of the Republican Party that, sadly, has become like a modern John Birch Society kind of party based on baseless conspiracy theories,” Butler said. “I wish we could go back to a Republican Party that was not based on that stuff and, sadly, we are not in those times.”

Community members seeking to learn when, where and how to vote can visit the Michigan Department of State’s website for more information.