Courtesy Vadon / Creative Commons --

At last night's Presidential debate, Donald Trump once again highlighted his concerns about voter fraud. 

a pair of feet and chalk spell the word vote on a sidewalk
User Theresa Thompson / Flickr /

Updated 10/12/16 at 11:45 am to include redacted complaint and note from attorney.

A Kalamazoo man was wrongly told by the Secretary of State’s office that he was not a legal U.S. citizen and therefore was ineligible to vote, according to the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center. 

Managing attorney Susan Reed said the young man, who doesn’t want to be named, was born in Liberia and became a U.S. citizen when his American parents adopted him 10 years ago.

He turned 18 earlier this year, registered to vote, and cast a ballot in the state primary.

But when he and his dad went to their local SOS branch to get him a state ID, a staffer told him that he was not, in fact, a legal U.S. citizen – and therefore shouldn’t have voted.

8 questions and 8 answers about voting in Michigan

Oct 4, 2016
Courtesy H2Woah! / Flickr

We're inching closer to the last day that you can register to vote in Michigan. As we near the final day, we want to make sure that everyone has the knowledge about where to vote.

Given that, here are 8 questions you may have about registering to vote and their answers.  

1) When's the last day that I can register to vote?

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.

Ballot in a voting booth

The number of registered voters in Michigan this year is lower than in previous presidential elections based on the data collected through August.

According to the Michigan Secretary of State, there are currently 7,394,663 registered voters in the state, which is fewer than the past two election years. There were 7,470,764 in 2008 and 7,454,553 in 2012.  

Auchter's Art

Listen, if you got yourself a big ol’ pot of roiling outrage going right now, I’m not the one to tell you to take it off the heat.

It’s election season and who am I to talk you out of the delicious indulgence of indignation? I’m an editorial cartoonist, for crying out loud!

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Russia has been accused of hacking into the emails of the Democratic National Committee. 

So, could Russia or some other country or group hack U.S. voting machines in some states in an attempt to change an election?

The answer, according to a group of determined computer scientists featured in a recent article by Ben Wofford of Politico, is yes.

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.

polling place sign
Michael Dorausch /

You can vote a straight ticket ballot in November. Maybe.

A federal judge is blocking the Michigan law that banned straight party voting. 

But, Attorney General Bill Schuette and Secretary of State Ruth Johnson will appeal the decision, probably early next week.

The U.S. District Judge who's blocking the law, Gershwin Drain, wrote an opinion which indicated this would present a disproportionate burden on African American's right to vote. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A pair of new state House bills would remove political party vignettes from the November ballot.

Vignettes are those little pictures that appear next to a party's name on the ballot.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

That moment you step up to the voting machine to cast your vote is arguably the foundation of our democracy.

But here’s something you might not know: Those voting machines that we rely on are wearing out, and fast.

Two years ago, a presidential commission on elections warned of an impending national crisis because of these worn-out voting machines, and according to Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum, Michigan is in the thick of it.

Information freeze thaws after injunction on election law

Feb 13, 2016
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - An information freeze for local and school officials is thawing after a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction on a new Michigan election law that critics called a gag order.

The injunction came as a relief to many local and school officials fearful of legal repercussions for distributing information about upcoming ballot proposals. Gov. Rick Snyder signed the legislation into law this year.

Cle0patra / Flickr

(This story was updated at 9:55am on February 2, 2016) 

Michigan's open primary is on March 8th. 

Michigan Radio's senior political analyst Jack Lessenberry stops by Stateside to explore the nuances of  Michigan's 2016 primary with host Cynthia Canty.

Lessenberry thinks Michigan could play a major role in choosing the presidential nominees of one, or both parties this year. Others agree, including the Hillary Clinton campaign, which this weekend called for adding a Democratic debate with Senator Bernie Sanders in Flint just ahead of the primary. 

This has been an intense first week of the year in Michigan politics, with Governor Snyder signing deeply controversial bills, the Flint water crisis, and renewed concern over the impending financial collapse of the Detroit Public Schools.

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry explains the straight-ticket voting law that Governor Rick Snyder has signed into law, another proposed bill that would block school districts and municipalities from informing the public about ballot measures within 60 days of an election, and Lessenberry explains what Governor Snyder's state of emergency declaration means for Flint. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

As the Michigan House and Senate wrap up for the year, there’s a piece of legislation that could change what voters experience in the booth. The Republican majority is working to pass a plan that would eliminate the straight-ticket voting option on the ballot.

I spoke with Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants.

Both Demas and Sikkema point out that this is not the first time Republicans have tried to pass a ban on straight ticket voting.

Inside the Michigan Senate
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Senate has approved campaign finance legislation that would write the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling into state law.

The court ruled that the First Amendment allows unrestricted independent political spending by outside groups.

Democrats say the bill not only codifies “Citizens United” – it expands it.

No-reason absentee voting bill pushed in Michigan House

Dec 5, 2015
user eyspahn / flickr

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Republicans' push to eliminate Michigan's straight-party voting option may improve the odds of voters being allowed to cast absentee ballots for any reason.

A lawmaker is pushing for passage of "no-reason" absentee voting legislation next week. Voters could ask for an absentee ballot application in person at their clerk's office without needing an excuse.

They currently must be 60 years or older, be out of town when polls are open or meet other criteria.

Election night last year was not a good one for Michigan Democrats.

They lost ground in both houses of the Legislature, which the Republicans already controlled. They lost the governor’s race, despite a weak re-election campaign on the part of Rick Snyder.

But in races for education boards – the state board and the elected trustees of Michigan’s three major universities, it was a terrible night for Republicans.

Ban on straight-ticket voting clears state Senate

Nov 10, 2015
More than half a million people voted absentee in this week's primary election
Lars Plougmann

Michigan would end straight-ticket voting under a bill that cleared the state Senate on Tuesday.

Voters would no longer be able to fill in one dot to vote for all candidates representing one political party on a ballot.

When the Michigan House of Representatives finally got rid of its two disgraced members earlier this month, we thought that was that.

Nobody imagined there was much of a chance of them reclaiming their jobs.

Well, think again. 

The group that oversees what goes on our ballots approved language for three more potential ballot proposals for next year. There’s no guarantee that any or all of these will get enough signatures to be certified for the ballot, of course.

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.

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

Democratic state lawmakers are again hoping to allow no-reason absentee voting in Michigan.

Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson has said recently that more people who have died or moved out of state must be removed from the state’s voter registration database before lawmakers will agree to stop putting conditions on who can vote absentee.

Ballot in a voting booth

Michigan teens would be able to pre-register to vote under a proposal in Lansing.

The measure would allow 16 and 17 year olds to fill out their voter registration paperwork when they get their driver’s licenses. The state would mail their voter cards when they turn 18.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Campaign posters, billboards, and newspaper, radio and television ads have long been the delivery methods for political candidates trying to win the hearts of voters. But more and more, campaigns are using technology to track and reach you. 

Well, the election is officially four weeks away, but not for me. I voted yesterday morning, in the best place possible, at my kitchen table.

I can legally do this, because I am more than 60 years old. If you reach that age, you qualify to be sent an absentee ballot through the mail, every election.

I won’t tell you for whom I voted, but I will tell you this: We’d be a better democracy if everyone could vote this way, if everyone got a ballot in the mail, took the time to study it, and then mailed it in.

Or as I do, drop it off at city hall.

TIF mismanagement can lead to blight.


Tax increment financing, or TIF, is a flexible tool for downtown development authority boards aiming to encourage private investment and increase the taxable value of their municipality.

TIFs enable portions of a city’s regular property tax to be used for economic development, without a vote from taxpayers. There are eight types of authorities in Michigan that can engage in this type of financing.

David Bieri is an assistant professor of urban and regional planning at the University of Michigan.

Bieri explains the good and bad uses of TIFs. In the early 2000s, DDAs from Kalamazoo to Detroit addressed blight through brownfield remitigation. On the other hand, Bieri cites Bloomfield Park, the unfinished mini-city in Bloomfield Hills, as an example of TIFs gone bad: Blight was created rather than mitigated. 

The Michigan Democratic Party is expanding its effort to kickstart the absentee voting process online.

Party officials announced Thursday that voters statewide can now apply for absentee ballots online, through the website

The site is designed for mobile internet devices. MDP chair Lon Johnson said this is about merging two trends: more people choosing absentee voting, and the growing use of mobile devices.

Detroit voters will now be able to access, sign and submit absentee ballot applications on their smartphones.

Detroit city clerk Janice Winfrey and Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lon Johnson announced the new initiative Wednesday.

Winfrey said it’s simply a matter of meeting voters where they tend to be these days—online.

“So why not? Why not be able to use their smartphone to request an absentee ballot?” Winfrey asked.