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elections

It's Election Day, but that doesn't mean the fun stops here. Grossmann told us many politicians are looking four years ahead, and, "in some ways, [the 2020 presidential campaign] has already started."
Ryan Grimes / Michigan Radio

 

Election Day marks the finish line of a grueling, fractious and long campaign.

It started with Ted Cruz announcing his candidacy in March 2015.

Twenty months later, many Americans are expressing their exhaustion with the process.

Many people are looking wistfully to other countries like Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland and France, which elect their leaders in a few weeks and then move on.

Michigan State University associate professor of political science Matt Grossmann sat down with us today to talk about how the process for electing our president became so protracted.

user eyspahn / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The U.S. Justice Department will keep a close eye on things in Michigan this election day.

But according to Detroit’s U.S. Attorney, that’s largely business as usual.

Barbara McQuade has appointed Dawn Ison, a “very experienced” prosecutor from her office’s public corruption unit, to be the District Election Officer.

Ison will “be on call” all day to take any complaints of potential federal election violations, from potential fraud to complaints of voter intimidation. She also has a direct line to the Justice Department in Washington if the need arises.

Campaign signs
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

People complain about political ads, robo-calls interrupting dinner, and mailboxes full of campaign literature.

But there’s another sign of election season: political yard signs. Candidates love them. Political consultants say they’re a waste of time and money.

More than half a million people voted absentee in this week's primary election
Lars Plougmann

Just 1 in 5 Michigan voters cast a ballot Tuesday. While that doesn’t sound like a lot, it’s actually close to a record high turnout for this kind of primary.

“There were a number of highly-contested congressional primaries across the state, so that helped drive interest,” says Fred Woodhams, spokesperson from the Michigan Secretary of State’s office.

“When we defer [capital expenditure] or investment in a school district, we’re knowingly ensuring that our students won’t keep up with their peers across the state or the country or the world,” Saunders said.
wikimedia user motown31 / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 

Michigan school boards are facing a dearth of candidates in the November election. Nearly 1,600 seats will open up in 540 districts across the state. Yet, in the 2014 elections, approximately 70 seats remained empty. Why are people so reluctant to serve on their school boards?

Detroit Public Schools students participated in a mock election on May 19 to decide on two DPS-specific ballot measures and vote in presidential primaries.
pinehurst19475 / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The results are in, and Bernie Sanders is the winner -- of a mock election that 5,139 Detroit Public Schools students on 22 high-school campuses participated in on May 19. 

The Vermont senator took 58.12% of the Democratic vote and received 2,844 votes overall, according to a DPS release, beating out former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the next-highest vote-getter, by a comfortable margin. Clinton received 1,857 votes.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Ann Arbor Public Schools will close on May 3, an election day.

Many schools are polling places, and Superintendent Jeanice Swift says there are concerns about people coming into unlocked buildings to vote.

Swift says Ann Arbor is not alone in grappling with the issue.

"It is on the minds of districts across the state and around the country, " she says.

Swift says some districts have elected to use election days as professional development days, and Ann Arbor may do the same, or the city may decide to find other places for people to vote.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder has signed a controversial elections bill, but has called for a fix to clear up some confusion in the new law.

The new law puts limits on local officials’ ability to campaign for millages and other local ballot questions in the two months before an election. Local officials say it’s basically an effort to silence them.

  

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder has signed a law that eliminates the choice of voting a straight-party ballot with a single mark on Election Day, despite the fact that the option has been upheld twice by voters.

However, voters will not have the opportunity to challenge the new law on the ballot because Republican lawmakers tucked into it a $5 million spending provision that makes it immune to a referendum.

user jdurham / MorgueFile.com

Local governments in Michigan are not happy about some last-minute language added to a bill that just passed the state legislature.

Senate Bill 571 is mostly about campaign finance issues.

But tucked in at the very end of the bill is a provision that cities and townships argue amounts to a “gag rule” on them.

Inside the Michigan Senate
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Legislation that would eliminate the straight-ticket voting option on Michigan ballots is headed to Gov. Rick Snyder’s desk.

Rick Pluta, co-host of It’s Just Politics and the Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network, tells us that if signed, this legislation would have three effects:

More than half a million people voted absentee in this week's primary election
Lars Plougmann

Detroit city clerk Janice Winfrey and voting rights advocates are denouncing a pair of election bills in the Michigan Legislature right now.

One is a state Senate bill that would restrict absentee voting hours, and ban absentee voting at satellite office locations.

Winfrey says Detroit is one of just a few Michigan cities to use satellite voting, and it’s been “very successful” there.

Today is Election Day, if you hadn’t noticed, and the safest prediction anyone can make is that turnout will be terrible. The vast majority of eligible voters won’t vote at all.

This is what they call an “off-off year election,” meaning that no major statewide or national races are on the ballot; no president, governors or senators.

But if anyone thinks this is not an important election, think again. 



The actress best known for playing Laura Ingalls Wilder on “Little House on the Prairie” in the 1970s and early 80s moved to Michigan two years ago with her actor husband Timothy Busfield.

On Monday, she announced a run for Congress in Michigan’s 8th District. It covers cities like East Lansing, Howell, Fenton, Clarkston, Lake Orion and Rochester.

grand rapids mayor rosalynn bliss
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics, Michigan Radio’s senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry and Morning Edition host Christina Shockley discuss the first female mayor of Grand Rapids, this week's elections,  accusations of racism against Gov. Snyder and Detroit emergency managers, the number of college degrees among Michigan lawmakers.


User: PunkToad / flickr

Sabra Briere (D-Ward 1), Zachary Ackerman (D-Ward 2), John Eaton (D-Ward 4) and Chip Smith (D-Ward 5) won their primary election races. Currently, the four Democratic candidates face no opposition in the November general election. 

Lansing City Council primary election results

Aug 5, 2015
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The top four will advance to the general election

Carol Wood 4771 votes (40.5%)

Patricia A. Spitzley 2190 votes (18.6%)

Harold J. Leeman Jr. 2171 votes (18.4%)

Emily Dievendorf 1589 votes (13.5%)

Mary Ann Prince will not advance, with 1068 votes (9.1%)

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint Mayor Dayne Walling will get a chance to keep his job, though he would first have to defeat a political novice in November.

Walling finished first in Tuesday’s mayoral primary.

grand rapids mayor rosalynn bliss
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Rosalynn Bliss will be Grand Rapids' new mayor.

Bliss soundly defeated her opponents in today's primary, winning 66% of the vote and negating the need for a run-off election in November.

Non-partisan commission would make more Michigan votes count

Jul 27, 2015
Michigan House Republicans

A counterpoint to this essay can be found here

The Next Idea

Everybody who sets foot in a voting booth wants to know that their vote counts just as much as the vote of the next person in line. Faith in our democratic system rests on fair and representative elections.

Unfortunately, Michigan’s political map has been manipulated to the point that not all votes count the same. Politicians have drawn political districts so that in many places around our state, who wins or loses is a foregone conclusion long before the end of election night. They created the political map this way in order to give themselves and their party a head start in an election, much to the detriment of our democracy and your vote.

State law specifically says people without photo IDs, can sign an affidavit - and still vote
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Democrats in the Legislature are calling for changes to how legislative districts are drawn.

The effort is built off a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision. The decision says voters can take the power to draw district lines away from the Legislature and hand it to an independent commission.

More than half a million people voted absentee in this week's primary election
Lars Plougmann

Republicans in the state Senate have put a damper on a legislative effort to allow no-reason absentee voting in Michigan.

A Republican-sponsored bill in the state House seems to have wide bipartisan support. But if the House approves the bill, it appears it won’t go any farther.

A recent survey suggests that Michigan voters don't like a lot of what they see in the upcoming political season.
National Ave

Presidential candidates keep hopping on the bandwagon. ‘Tis the season, after all.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING   (AP) - Michigan Republicans are exploring whether to change the rules so their presidential candidate can net electoral votes without having to win the state's popular vote.

Legislation before the GOP-led Legislature would make Michigan the third - and by far the largest - state to move away from a winner-take-all system to one that allocates electoral votes proportionally. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

In the final weeks of the campaign we heard poll results predicting a dead heat between Republican Gov. Rick Snyder and Democrat Mark Schauer.

In the end, it was Snyder over Schauer 51% to 47%.

How do pollsters view their track record? EPIC-MRA President Bernie Porn joined us on Stateside. 

He says the Republicans Governors Association blunted Schauer’s momentum going into the election, which may have given Gov. Snyder the edge needed to win re-election.

It wasn’t a total loss for the Democrats, Porn says, because they won the state board and education posts, which he believes indicates that the party base for the Democrats turned out.

He also attributes Gov. Snyder’s re-election to an appeal to independent voters; Snyder received 72% of the independent vote in this election.

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Gary Peters received 88% of the independent vote in this race, showing how crucial independents are.

*Listen to the interview with Bernie Porn above.

Cathleen Carrigan / Flickr

Michigan will send the same number of Democrats and Republicans to Washington.

The state will send nine Republicans and five Democrats to the U.S. House. New Congressional faces include Republicans David Trott, Mike Bishop and John Moolenaar. And Democrats Brenda Lawrence and Debbie Dingell.

Debbie Dingell discusses her goals and expectations as a new representative in the U.S. House.

Dingell is taking over the 12th District from her husband John Dingell, who will retire at the end of this term.

  Today on Stateside:

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There will be a lot to keep an eye on tomorrow, so our It’s Just Politics team of Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta are breaking down for us the five things to look for on Election Day.

1. How well Gov. Rick Snyder does in Detroit. Pluta equates the election, in part, to a referendum on the governor's Detroit rescue plan, the bankruptcy, and the path forward. Gov. Snyder is not expected to win in Detroit, which is heavily Democratic.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

With Election Day less than 24 hours away, candidates are out making their final push before voters hit the polls.

What will the State House and Senate look like after these midterm elections?

There are some tight races and the outcomes will determine what happens in statewide issues like taxes, school-funding, and fixing our roads. Kathy Gray from the Detroit Free Press Lansing Bureau is watching these races.

Gray notes some things to look for during the election Tuesday night, such as how Mark Schauer does.

Marijuana
USFWS

On Nov. 4, voters in 11 Michigan cities will consider legalizing small amounts of marijuana. That’s the largest number of municipalities to ever consider the question in a single election in the state. As Michigan Public Radio’s Jake Neher reports, marijuana advocates think they can win all of them.

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