Monday, January 30, 2012

Voting in Michigan’s Primary

Michigan’s Presidential Primary is Tuesday, February 28. What is different this year? First of all, it’s a closed primary and Michigan rarely holds closed primaries. A closed primary means only Democrats can vote for Democrats and only Republicans can vote for Republicans. Voters will get different ballots based on your party affiliation.

An open primary would offer one ballot with both parties choices on it and it’s up to the voter to vote in only one party’s election. Those who attempt to vote in both parties’ elections would not have their ballot count at all.

Secondly, the political party you choose will become a matter of public record. It does not register you as a member of that party, however.

Last year, the Republican-dominated state legislature passed a law to make public the voters’ party affiliations in the Presidential Primary. One can assume this is to deter Democrats from voting in the Republican primary. Democrats will have only one name on their ballot, and a vote on Feb. 28 will be largely symbolic because Michigan’s Democratic Party decided to hold their presidential caucus on May 5. That’s when they will officially select Barack Obama as their candidate.

What’s on the February 28 ballot? For Democrats, only the name of Barack Obama. For Republicans, the names of 11 Republican candidates. The list of Republicans was finalized in December and will not reflect the fact that some candidates may have dropped out of the race. The names in alphabetical order are: Michelle Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Gary Johnson, Fred Karger, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Buddy Roemer, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum.

Voter ID requirements have not changed in the last 2 years. Voters must show picture identification. Preferred are your Michigan driver’s license or personal ID card. If a voter doesn’t have either, a current picture ID from another state, federal or state government-issued photo ID, a U.S. passport, military ID with photo, student ID with photo from a high school or an accredited institution of higher education, or a tribal ID card with photo may substitute.

If a voter does not have picture ID, they may vote after signing an affidavit.

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