primary election

What happened yesterday in Detroit was truly astounding on a number of levels. More than half of the voters ignored the fourteen mayoral candidates on the ballot, and wrote in a name.

Federal health data show that where you live may determine whether you will get cancer and what type.

On today’s show, we explored Michigan's cancer profile.

And, we traveled to the Headlands International Dark Sky Park near Mackinac City, one of only 10 designated sky parks in the entire world.

Also, we spoke with Rick Pluta about the write-in candidates in Detroit’s primary election.

First on the show, it's not uncommon for voter turnout to be lower on primary Election Days than on the big general Election Days in November, but so much is at stake in Detroit's primary today.

Voters will narrow the field in races for Mayor and City Council.

They'll be choosing a district-based council for the first time in nearly 100 years. These leaders will be working closely with emergency manager Kevyn Orr during the city's historic bankruptcy, and they will be running the show after Orr leaves.

So the need for competent, passionate elected officials is greater than ever, and yet, turnout at the polls in Detroit is expected to be in the 15-17% range.

We wanted to talk about what's behind that chronically low number. Could it be something besides disaffected, uninvolved residents?

Nancy Derringer, a writer for Bridge Magazine, and Karen Dumas, the former chief of communications for Detroit Mayor Dave Bing and a communications/PR strategist, joined us today.

Peter Martorano / Flickr

Tomorrow is primary election day.

Detroit's primary is getting most of the attention, but there are local elections happening in many areas of the state on Tuesday.

In Flint, voters are choosing among two dozen candidates to fill largely powerless city council seats.

Flint has been under the control of an emergency manager since December of 2011. But while Flint city council members wield little power now, that may soon change.

Flint is taking steps to come out from under state oversight and that could happen late next year, so the Flint city council members elected from the field of Tuesday’s primary candidates may eventually have actual power to shape their city.

Voters are also casting primary ballots in parts of Lansing, Jackson, Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor.

In all, voters in more than 50 Michigan counties will be casting ballots on Tuesday.

In Detroit, the stakes have never been higher because of the bankruptcy.

Detroit Free Press editorial writer Nancy Kaffer joined us today to give us a preview of the election.

Listen to the full interview above.

When it comes to economic growth and finding an economic partner, it seems Michigan and China have a serious relationship. Last year, Michigan exported more than $3 billion worth of goods and services to China, only behind Canada and Mexico. We took a look at these economic ties and what they mean for the future.

And, we met a 17-year-old who is trying to keep her community clean, one trash bag at a time.

Also, we spoke with Bruce Katz, vice president of the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program and co-author of the new book “The Metropolitan Revolution: How Cities and Metros are Fixing our Broken Politics and Fragile Economy,” about rebuilding Detroit.

First on the show, tomorrow is primary election day. Detroit's primary is getting most of the attention, but there are local elections happening in many areas of the state on Tuesday.

In Flint, voters are choosing among two dozen candidates to fill largely powerless city council seats.

Flint has been under the control of an emergency manager since December of 2011. But while Flint city council members wield little power now, that may soon change.

Flint is taking steps to come out from under state oversight and that could happen late next year, so the Flint city council members elected from the field of Tuesday’s primary candidates may eventually have actual power to shape their city.

Voters are also casting primary ballots in parts of Lansing, Jackson, Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor.

In all, voters in more than 50 Michigan counties will be casting ballots on Tuesday.

In Detroit, the stakes have never been higher because of the bankruptcy.

Detroit Free Press editorial writer Nancy Kaffer joined us today to give us a preview of the election.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

Legislators working to prevent animal abuse in Michigan

A bid to make Michigan the first state with an animal abuser registry has been dropped by lawmakers over concerns about cost and other issues. Instead, the state could soon require that criminal background checks be done on every would-be pet adopter at Michigan animal shelters. The $10 fee for each check could be waived for shelters. Cracking down on animal abuse has broad support, though some dog breeders question doing tens of thousands of background checks to flag a small number of abusers.

Michigan left turn could enter other states

The median U-turn is common on Michigan roadways; they allow drivers to avoid accident-generating left turns at intersections. But Wayne State University engineers say they aren't common in other states yet, in part because the design isn't included in standard manuals and software used by highway designers. The university received a $78,000 grant from Scientific Applications with which they plan to develop equations, text and software to include the Michigan left turn in the Highway Capacity Manual.

Looking forward to local primaries tomorrow

Local primaries will be taking place across Michigan tomorrow. The most interesting might be the Detroit mayoral primary. There are 14 names on the ballot, but the race is widely seen as a duel between former Detroit Medical Center CEO Mike Duggan, and Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon. But Duggan isn't even on the ballot, he's running a write-in campaign. Only the top two candidates will advance to the November general election.

Tomorrow is primary election day, and if you are like most Michigan voters, I can tell you exactly how you are going to vote: You won’t.

Turnout in Michigan’s August primary has averaged around 20 percent. That means four out of every five registered voters don‘t vote. One man told me he didn’t bother with primaries. He said, “I wait and vote in the real election,” in November.

Well, that isn’t only neglecting his civic responsibilities, it is also ignorant. Here’s something that may be news to you: For most contested races in this state, tomorrow is the real election.