Election 2012

Politics & Government
5:12 pm
Thu September 20, 2012

Political Roundup: Citizenship verification box?

League of Women Voters

Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson is pushing for a citizenship verification box on the application for the November ballot. She says there could be an estimated 4,000 non-citizens registered to vote in Michigan. 

A lawsuit has been brought to block the question from the ballot and some county clerks are refusing to put the citizenship question to voters.

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Politics & Government
4:39 pm
Thu September 20, 2012

Stateside: Secretary of State Ruth Johnson talks 'checkbox' politics

Michigan Secretary of State, Ruth Johnson.
MI SOS

We are now 47 days away from the November general election.

Here in Michigan, the political races have some competition in the headlines with "the box": the box that you're supposed to tick off to declare that, yes, you are an American citizen.

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Politics & Government
3:33 pm
Thu September 20, 2012

Candidate reunites 'West Wing' cast, but will going viral help campaign?

Political campaigns are using viral videos to promote their candidates.
Bridget McCormack YouTube

Why would a political campaign want to release an online video that’s part of a genre best known for piano-playing cats?

Why would it risk handing over control of its message to the unruly masses of YouTube and Facebook commenters?

Well, this very article is one reason.

The campaign viral video relies on big names, controversy, or just downright strange content (see Carly Fiorina's "Demon Sheep") to garner the attention of social media users. If all goes well, media outlets will pick up the story.

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Election 2012
1:35 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

Obama, Stabenow remain on top in new Michigan poll

Debbie Stabenow maintains a lead over Pete Hoekstra in a new Michigan poll.
Office of Senator Stabenow

A recent poll of likely voters by Lansing-based Marketing Resource Group has President Barack Obama and Senator Debbie Stabenow maintaining slim leads in Michigan.

MLive has the story:

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Election 2012
1:27 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

Nearly 4,000 Michigan voters are not U.S. Citizens says Secretary of State Johnson

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson released a statement claiming nearly 4,000 registered voters in Michigan are not U.S. citizens.
michigan.gov

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson released a statement claiming as many as 4,000 registered voters in Michigan are not U.S. citizens. David Eggert of Mlive has the story:

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Politics & Government
9:47 am
Wed September 19, 2012

Gov. Snyder speaks out on ballot proposals, encourages 'no' votes on amendments

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder voices his opinion on the ballot proposals.
YouTube

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder released six videos expressing his opinion on the six ballot proposals facing voters this fall.

And just like the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Gov. Snyder is encouraging a "no" vote on all five proposed amendments to the Michigan Constitution. He is encouraging a "yes" vote on the referendum on the emergency manager law (Public Act 4).

From Snyder's press release:

“I respect the initiative process as a fundamental democratic right, but the proposed constitutional amendments in November’s election have potentially dangerous long-term consequences for Michigan,” Snyder said. “Enshrining these seriously flawed proposals within our constitution would roll back positive reforms that are helping reinvent our state, and I encourage citizens to view them with skepticism.”

You can listen to Gov. Snyder's reasoning in his YouTube videos below. By the time he gets to proposal six, his voice seems a little strained:

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Politics & Government
5:13 pm
Tue September 18, 2012

Romney 'Super PAC' to spend in Michigan again

Pro-Romney Restore Our Future Super PAC to spend in Michigan again?
screen grab

Update 5:13 p.m.

A pro-Mitt Romney group will start running ads attacking President Obama’s jobs record in Michigan beginning tomorrow.

Recent polls show the president leading his Republican challenger in Michigan. And the Romney campaign has focused its own TV ad spending elsewhere.

Charlie Spies is co-founder of the Restore Our Future "Super PAC." Super PACS can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money from corporations, unions and individuals.

Spies says polls suggest Romney is still competitive in Michigan:

“Right now it shows Michigan with a slight Obama lead, but certainly within the margin that it’s competitive. And we’re very optimistic about the upper Midwest…both Wisconsin and Michigan.”

Spies says recent campaign stops in by Vice President Joe Biden and his wife show the Obama campaign is still worried about losing Michigan.

10:48 a.m.

Michigan Radio's Steve Carmody spoke with Restore Our Future reps this morning.

They confirmed that they will start running a new ad in Michigan markets starting tomorrow.

It's a one million dollar ad buy.

They told Carmody they expect to do a similar ad buy in Michigan next week.

10:09 a.m.

Conservative 'Super PACs' supporting Mitt Romney's presidential run recently pulled their ads out of Michigan.

It was an indication the state wasn't polling well for the Republican candidate.

But Sarah Wheaton over at the NY Times blog "The Caucus" writes some Super PAC money might be coming back.

Despite losing traction in the polls after the nominating conventions, Wheaton says Romney has one clear advantage over President Obama - "outside groups with much more money to spend supporting his candidacy and tactically placing their bets in states where they believe he has a chance to win."

Right now, Michigan appears to be a long shot bet for these groups.

Restore Our Future’s $720,000 investment in Michigan is particularly remarkable. Mr. Romney’s campaign and his other allies seem to have all but given up on the state, even though the candidate grew up there and his father, George Romney, was once governor. The Romney campaign itself, which is running state-specific spots in those states it ostensibly considers to be the most in play, left Michigan off that list.

...But the ability of super PACs to raise and spend freely gives them flexibility to invest in some long shots. And it could also provoke the Obama campaign to spend some precious ad dollars on a state it considers relatively safe.

It remains to be seen how the polls will play out in Michigan after a video of Romney was released of the candidate making some potentially politically damaging comments while talking at a private fundraiser earlier this year. The Romney camp quickly put together a press conference to respond to the video.

Politics & Government
1:27 pm
Tue September 18, 2012

Update: Voters' rights coalition sues Secretary of State over citizenship checkbox

Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson is being sued over a controversial citizenship question on this November's ballots.

As Rick Pluta reported yesterday, a coalition of voters' rights groups has filed a federal lawsuit to prevent Secretary of State Ruth Johnson from including a citizenship question on Michigan's November ballots.

Kary L. Moss, executive director for the ACLU of Michigan, said in a press release that Secretary Johnson was "not above the law."

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Politics & Government
4:39 pm
Mon September 17, 2012

Some county clerks in Michigan sue over citizenship question

Voting booth
suttonhoo.blogspot.com

Update 4:39 p.m.

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson is being sued for ordering a citizenship question onto forms handed to voters at their local precincts. It asks people to check a box affirming their U.S. citizenship. But no one can legally be denied a ballot for refusing to check the box.
    
Jocelyn Benson directs the Michigan Center for Election Law, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. She said Secretary of State Johnson is acting outside the realm of her authority.

"And it's not going to prevent non-citizens from voting, but it is something that will create and has created some confusion in our elections process," said Benson.

The lawsuit was filed today in U.S. District Court in Detroit.

Johnson's office would not comment specifically on the lawsuit. But she has said the question is simply meant to remind people that only U.S. citizens can vote in elections.

3:06 p.m.

Some county clerks are suing the state over boxes on voter forms that ask people whether they are citizens.

The lawsuit will say that Secretary of State Ruth Johnson does not have the authority on her own to put the boxes on election forms. A voter cannot be denied a ballot for refusing to check the box.

Earlier this year, Governor Rick Snyder vetoed a bill that would have required voter forms to include a citizenship question.

(we'll update this post - check back)

Opinion
6:07 pm
Fri September 7, 2012

Pulling conservative Super-PAC ads from Michigan leaves us with "swing-envy"

Commentator Keith Oppenheim

Conservative Super-PACS have pulled their campaign ads supporting Mitt Romney in Michigan. That’s fueling speculation the Romney campaign and conservative groups will move their efforts and money elsewhere. 

Commentator Keith Oppenheim has these thoughts.

Back in June, I thought we had a chance.

The polls were getting tight.

The commercials were booming.

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It's Just Politics
3:21 pm
Fri September 7, 2012

Will Michigan's ballot proposals get out the vote in November?

Immortal Poet Flickr

It's official. There will be six questions on the state's November ballot: Five proposed amendments to the Michigan Constitution and one referendum on the state’s emergency manager law. And, we’re looking at some big battles here; we’ll certainly see a whole lot of money pouring into these efforts to change state law. In this week’s It’s Just Politics we take a look at how these ballot questions just might work as vote-drivers.

It’s a GOTV Kind of a Year

This year we have very few undecided voters – that group of anywhere from a third to even less than a quarter of the people that wait until the last minute to make up their minds. A lot of people don’t vote at all – in Michigan, about 40 percent of registered voters don’t actually make it to the polls. That’s referring, however, to the presidential race. In a presidential election year  that’s the biggest driver that gets people out to vote. There’s no doubt though that more people are still undecided about races and questions that are lower on the ballot. So, for many political strategists, the question becomes: what happens if you can somehow persuade some of those people to get out on Election Day?

Can Ballot Questions Get-Out-the-Vote?

Certainly, ballot questions are used to determine policy on issues. But they can also motivate people to get out and vote on issues they care about like same-sex marriage, affirmative action or abortion. This year, in Michigan, we have questions dealing with union rights and taxes. Democrats are pinning some of their electoral hopes on the Protect Our Jobs ballot question. The Protect Our Jobs proposal would guarantee bargaining rights, reverse a bunch of anti-union laws passed by the Legislature and Governor Snyder, and make sure there’s no way lawmakers could pass a right-to-work law in Michigan.

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Politics & Government
2:18 pm
Thu September 6, 2012

Stateside: Gov. Snyder says Michigan could go for Romney

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder at a Univ. of Michigan basketball game.
Facebook

Cyndy spoke with Michigan Governor Snyder for Thursday’s premiere show.

The Governor is just back from the Republican National Convention and told Cyndy that he thinks Michigan could go for Republican Mitt Romney in November.

“There are good chances and I told that to their [the Romney] campaign,” Snyder said.

He noted the major sweep for Republicans – both statewide and nationally – in 2010 as an example of the GOP making headways in the state.

Snyder also says he doesn’t plan to say negative things about President Obama during the presidential campaign.

“Public service is a major challenge on anyone,” Snyder said. “We need to partner with the federal government and local government and we want to work in a positive, constructive way. I don’t believe in doing negative activities,and I stick to the positive side of things.”

There are two ways you can podcast "Stateside with Cynthia Canty"

Opinion
12:54 pm
Thu September 6, 2012

Local reporters at national conventions are not a waste of money

Reporters in the press room of the DNC
Lester Graham Michigan Radio

I just spent about $5,000 at the two national political conventions.


No, I wasn’t out wining and dining with the heavy hitters, and despite how much my critics would love to finally be able to prove my biases, I wasn’t handing out political contributions to candidates either.


I spent the money to send Michigan Radio reporters to cover the Michigan delegation at each convention.

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9:00 pm
Wed September 5, 2012

Detroit native designed Mrs. Obama's DNC dress

Lead in text: 
Micheal Rosenfield has the skinny on the designer of the First Lady's DNC dress.
DETROIT (WXYZ) - As the Democratic National Convention continues, the web is abuzz with the first lady's dazzling dress last night. And the designer behind the stunner is none other than a Detroiter. The dress, which is getting rave reviews, was designed by Detroit native and Cass Tech graduate Tracy Reese, whose star in the fashion industry continues to rise.
Politics & Government
2:02 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

Voters to choose McCotter's temporary replacement tomorrow

Former Michigan U.S. Representative Thaddeus McCotter (R-11th District) resigned amid a petition signature scandal.
Rep. Thaddeus McCotter U.S. House of Representatives

Some voters in southeast Michigan have more than November's general election to think about.

Tomorrow, is is primary day in Michigan's 11th District.

That's when voters in parts of Wayne and Oakland counties will choose a temporary replacement for Republican U.S. Representative Thaddeus McCotter.

He quit in July after it was discovered that petition signatures were forged or copied in at least two of his campaigns.

Five Republicans are vying for the seat. They'll face a Democrat, a Libertarian and a U.S. Taxpayers Party Candidate in the November 6th general election.

The taxpayer tab for the special election will be at least $650,000.

Low voter turnout is predicted.

Four of McCotter's former staff  members have been charged in the petition scandal.

McCotter has not been charged.

Politics & Government
4:48 pm
Fri August 31, 2012

Stabenow agrees to debate Hoekstra twice

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).
USDA.gov

U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow says she will participate in two debates with Republican U.S. Senate candidate Pete Hoekstra.

Stabenow made the announcement this afternoon. Hoekstra has been calling for six debates with the two-term Democrat from Lansing.

Details have not been finalized, but the Associated Press reports Stabenow has accepted debate invitations from the Detroit Economic Club and Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids.

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Politics & Government
4:13 pm
Thu August 30, 2012

Political Roundup: Ballot proposals take money, make their way through the courts

Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

Three ballot proposals will appear on the November ballot. But four others are in limbo until the Michigan Supreme Court rules on them.

Depending upon how the court rules, voters could find themselves with up to seven questions to answer on the ballot. You can read more about the seven proposals here.

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Politics & Government
4:48 pm
Wed August 29, 2012

Four ballot controversies heading to Michigan Supreme Court tomorrow

user Jeffness Wikimedia Commons

The Michigan Supreme Court will hold a hearing tomorrow on whether four questions should appear on the statewide November ballot.

The court is expected to rule very quickly to meet election deadlines.

The proposals would

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Newsmaker Interviews
7:57 pm
Tue August 28, 2012

Michigan GOP at the RNC convention

Governor Rick Snyder at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan Radio's All Things Considered host, Jennifer White talks with reporter Steve Carmody. He's been covering the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida.

More than 100 Michigan delegates are at the GOP convention. Among the delegation is Governor Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette. Also in the mix are Republican Party members from around the state.

"The primary focus for a lot of the delegates is obviously, get Mitt Romney elected...but when you get away from the simple politics, the main thrust of what the delegates are most concerned about is jobs. They say, the economy and bringing more jobs to Michigan is their primary concern," Carmody said.

The big question is whether Michigan could play a bigger role in the election than previously thought. Carmody said:

"The Republicans here insist that it is a swing state, and that it will play a pivotal role. Of course, others cite different polls that show that there is a much wider gap in Michigan than there are in other swing states."

For example, "Governor Chris Christie from New Jersey was talking to the Michigan delegation, and he said that Michigan is, as he described it, 'a state of consequence,' which means it is a swing state.  That if Michigan does turn out and vote for Mitt Romney that would put Mitt Romney over the top as president. And he said it’s up to people in that room, the Michigan delegation, to make sure that they do get out the Republican vote.  He said this morning that, you don’t want to wake up the next day and find out that Mitt Romney fell one percentage point short in Michigan and that cost him the election," said Carmody.

Politics & Government
5:14 pm
Tue August 28, 2012

Photos from the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida

Michigan delegates at the Republican National Convention in Tampa wearing University of Michigan football jerseys in honor of Pres. Gerald Ford (a former U of M football player).
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

Michigan Radio reporter Steve Carmody is covering the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida.

The storm has passed and the delegates are gathering for tonight's program where New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will deliver the keynote address.

National political conventions are always filled with color and a little clowning from enthusiastic delegates.

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