In this Guide

Information About Voting

U.S. President & Vice President

U.S. Senate

Representatives in Congress, 6th Dist.

State Board of Education

University of Michigan Board of Regents

Michigan State University Board of Trustees

Wayne State University Board of Governors

Michigan Supreme Court Judge

Michigan Court of Appeals Judge, 3rd District

State Representative, 60th, 61st & 63rd Districts

Kalamazoo County Commission

Kalamazoo County Officials

Circuit Court Judge, 9th circuit

District Court Judge, 8th District

Probate Judge

State Ballot Proposals

Kalamazoo County Proposal

Polling Places



President of the United States

Ground Rules

1. All qualified presidential candidates were invited to provide biographical information and responses to five issue specific questions. Candidates were qualified if they met the following criteria: 1) the candidate must have made a public announcement of her/his intention to run for President; and 2) the candidate must qualify for the ballot in enough states to win a majority of electoral votes; and, 3) the candidate must meet the Presidential Election Campaign Fund Act’s minimum contribution threshold requirements for qualifying for matching funds, based on the most recent data publicly available on the FEC Web site as of August 8, 2008.

2. Responses were limited to 50 words and truncated after the 50th word.

About the Office of President

Salary: $400,000 per year

Term: Four years. Limit of two terms.

How Elected: Every four years political parties nominate candidates to run for President of the United States in a general election that is held on the first Tuesday in November of years divisible by the number four. Candidates may also directly petition each state individually to gain access to the ballot. The way the voters cast their ballots for President and Vice President determines how the members of the Electoral College will vote.

Duties: The President is the head of state of the United States of America and is the Chief Executive Officer and the Commander in Chief of all military forces. The powers of the President are described in the Constitution and federal law. Subject to Senate approval, the President appoints the members of the Cabinet, ambassadors to other nations and the United Nations, Supreme Court Justices and federal judges. The President, along with the Cabinet and its agencies, is responsible for carrying out and enforcing the laws of the United States. The President may also recommend legislation to the United States Congress.

Electoral College
The Electoral College was established by the founding fathers as a compromise between election of the president by Congress and election by popular vote. Voters actually cast their ballot for electors who then vote for the President and Vice President. Every four years, the 538 members of the Electoral College, a little known feature of our Constitution, meet in their respective states to perform their sole constitutional function: to elect the President and Vice-President of the United States. Under the Electoral College system, almost all of the states award their electoral votes on a winner take-all basis, so that the candidate who receives the most popular votes in a state receives all of that state’s electoral votes. Two ballots are taken, with each elector casting one vote for the President and one for the Vice-President. Electors almost always vote for the candidates to whom they have been pledged. However, the Constitution does not bind them to do so.

Copyright © 2008 by the League of Women Voters Education Fund

President/Vice President of the United States
4-Year Term — Vote for One (1) pair

John McCain/Sarah Palin
Bob Barr/Wayne A. Root
Chuck Baldwin/
Darrell L. Castle

U.S. Taxpayers
Barack Obama/Joe Biden
Ralph Nader/Matt Gonzalez
Natural Law
Cynthia McKinney/
Rosa Clemente


Three presidential candidates who met the criteria described in the Ground Rules on page 3 submitted their answers to the following questions:

1. GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE: What, if anything, do you believe the federal government should do to control global climate change?
2. COST OF HEALTH CARE: What should be done at the federal level, if anything, to combat the high cost of health care?
3. ECONOMIC DISPARITY: What, if anything, should the federal government do about the growing economic disparity between the middleclass and the well-to-do?
4. EDUCATION: What, if anything, should the federal government do to create the world’s best educational system for all children in America?
5. U.S. STRATEGY – RISING GLOBAL POWERS: What should the U.S. strategy be towards rising global powers like Russia and China?




BIOGRAPHY: John McCain graduated from the Naval
Academy and served for 22 years as a naval aviator. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 1982 and the Senate in 1986. He has served as chairman of the Commerce Committee and ranking member of the Armed Services Committee.

1. I support developing a cap-and-trade system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 60% by 2050, providing tax credits for alternative energy, promoting zero-carbon nuclear power, reducing the federal government’s carbon footprint, funding research into clean-coal technology, and offering incentives for America’s automobile industry to develop electric cars.

2. Under my plan, American families will receive $5,000 tax credits to purchase insurance, either through employers or the private market—insurance that can follow them if they change jobs or leave the workforce. I will work for reforms to lower costs and provide coverage to Americans with pre-existing conditions.

3. We must spur growth, create jobs, improve educational attainment, and enhance financial security. My plan will keep income and payroll taxes low, reduce the price of gas, double the dependent exemption, bring down health-care costs, give deserving homeowners new fixed mortgages, slash our high business taxes, and expand trade.

4. Our education system must focus on standards, accountability, and choice. My plan calls for recruiting highly qualified teachers in the neediest communities, empowering parents to choose the best schools for their children, expanding online educational opportunities, providing low-income families with access to tutors, and funding professional development for teachers.

5. As President, I will work to establish good relations with other nations. At the same time, I will stand up for democratic values and human rights, and I will oppose aggression and international lawlessness that threaten our security.



BIOGRAPHY: Attorney, author, and consumer advocate, named by Time Magazine one of the “100 Most Influential Americans in the 20th Century.” Over 4 decades of public service. Helped establish the OSHA, EPA, Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Safe Drinking Water Act, Motor Vehicle Safety Act, and Freedom of Information Act.

1. The government should stop subsidizing fossil fuels: oil, electric and coal mining interests. Invest in renewable energy that is efficient, sustainable, and environmentally friendly: wind and solar power. Encourage more efficient automobiles, homes and businesses. Ratify the Kyoto Protocol. Create an independent Oceanic Protection Agency. Adopt a carbon pollution tax.

2. Adopt a private delivery, free choice of hospital and doctor, single payer public health insurance system. This would save $350 billion annually by eliminating exorbitant executive pay, advertising, computerized billing fraud and abuse, and apply those savings to comprehensively cover everyone without increasing taxpayer costs. Lower costs through bulk purchasing.

3. Unfair legislation allows the middle class to suffer while the rich entrench their status. To correct this we should enact a living $10 wage, adopt a fair tax, and provide equal pay for women. We must end corporate subsidies and bailouts. Repeal NAFTA and the anti-union Taft/Hartley Law.

4. Increase civic education and decrease standardized testing. Repeal “No Child Left Behind” Act. Do not tie test performance to school funding. Provide full funding for pre-school  and nutrition programs. Get product marketing out of the schools. Ensure that the nation’s crumbling schools are repaired within 3 years.

5. The US should be a humanitarian superpower. Our foreign policy must redefine global security, peace, arms control, an end to nuclear weapons and expand the many assets of our country to assist with major initiatives against global infectious diseases. Stop support of foreign dictators. Human rights come before trade, profit.



BIOGRAPHY: Obama began his career as a community organizer on Chicago’s South Side and headed a voter registration drive. Obama practiced civil rights law and taught constitutional law. He served eight years in the State Senate before his election to the U.S. Senate. He graduated from Columbia University and Harvard Law.

1. I believe the federal government should pursue multiple paths to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address the threat of global climate change, including implementing aggressive cap and trade requirements to reduce U.S. emissions by 80% from 1990 levels and investing heavily in clean energy and advanced vehicle technologies.

2. My healthcare plan will make aggressive investments in cost-cutting technologies and will place more focus on prevention and chronic care management. The net result will be to bring down the costs of healthcare spending by $2,500 for a typical family, annually, and lower the expense of Medicare’s services.

3. I will cut taxes for the middle class and roll back some of the Bush tax cuts for those making over $250,000 to restore fairness to the tax code. I will make long term public investments in R&D, clean energy, infrastructure, and manufacturing to create millions of good-paying jobs.

4. I will strengthen public schools by expanding early childhood education, reforming and funding No Child Left Behind, recruiting and rewarding high-quality teachers, and expanding afterschool and summer learning opportunities. I will create a $4,000 American Opportunity Tax Credit and expand financial aid to make higher education affordable for all.

5. We must enhance our abilities both to collaborate and compete with China, while being vigilant about China’s military modernization and respect for human rights. As we seek a future of clear-eyed engagement with Russia, we must ensure Russia acts as a force for progress, not regression to past conflicts.