With less than one week to go before the General Election, WHMI is continuing efforts to get local voters ready and educated.

One gray area for some is what’s known as over/under voting. Voters are actually not required to cast a vote in every race or on every question. That means if they choose to leave a race or a question blank, the rest of the votes on their ballot will still be counted.

Livingston County Clerk Elizabeth Hundley tells WHMI a voter can cast a ballot in all of the races they wish to vote for. She says locally, there are plenty of races that people do not cast a vote for and voters can leave a particular race blank if they choose. Unlike an overvote, a ballot will not be canceled or disqualified because of an undervote. Hundley says an example of over-voting would be if a particular race says to vote for not more than two candidates but someone votes for more than two. When the voter goes to process that ballot in the tabulator, it would be pushed out and state they have voted for more candidates than allowed in that particular race. Hundley says at that point, the voter can spoil that ballot and go complete a new one and stay within the two. If a voter chooses not to cast a vote in a particular race, she says the scan machine will go ahead and accept that ballot and just not cast a vote for that particular contest.

Hundley says there are some races people tend to not vote. An undervote could be intentional such as a protest vote, tactical voting, or abstaining from a certain race. It could also be unintentional due to oversight on the voter's part or a confusing ballot design. One of the reasons someone might not feel comfortable casting a vote in a particular race is because they are not educated on the candidates or the proposal.

Livingston County Elections Coordinator Joe Bridgman says for example, under-voting mostly happens in races on the ballot that state to vote for two candidates, and only two candidates running. He tends to find is that a lot of voters assume those people have already won that election so they just choose not to vote for those individuals on the ballot. Bridgeman reminds that every single vote counts. He says just because it might state vote for two on the ballot and there might be only two candidates running, those two votes still matter.

Additional information for voters to prepare ahead of next Tuesday’s election, along with details about local races and ballot proposals is available on the Livingston County Clerk’s webpage. That link is provided. (JM)