vote

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The deadline to register to vote in Michigan's primary is today.

On Aug. 5, Michiganders will vote in the party primaries for state House and Senate seats.

But turnout has been historically low in the primaries.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The clock is ticking.

Detroit's bankruptcy settlement has gotten through the State Legislature and the private foundations. Now it's all up to 32,000 city employees and retirees.

They're being asked to say "yes" to having their pensions cut, and promising not to sue the city.

In return, the pension cuts will not be as severe as they would be under what's become known as the Grand Bargain.

Michigan Radio's Detroit reporter Sarah Cwiek joined us on Stateside. She explained the transparency issue surrounding the voting process, what the different classifications of retirees mean, and what we should keep our eyes on, during next week leading up to the July 11th deadline.

*Listen to full interview above.

Lars Plougmann / Creative Commons

During his recent State of the Union speech, President Obama made passing mention of our voting system.

"Citizenship means standing up for everyone’s right to vote. Last year, part of the Voting Rights Act was weakened.  But conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats are working together to strengthen it, and the bipartisan commission I appointed last year has offered reforms so that no one has to wait more than a half hour to vote.  Let’s support these efforts.  It should be the power of our vote, not the size of our bank account, that drives our democracy."

So, the voting system is on the president's mind. So, too, is it on the mind of Michigan Radio's political commentator Jack Lessenberry. He joined us today to discuss the problems he has noticed with our voting system.

Listen to the full interview above.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

We turn now to the West Side of the state.

That's where Michigan Radio's Lindsey Smith has been following a ballot proposal calling for the merger of Saugatuck and Douglas, two smaller cities just south of Holland.

Lindsey Smith joined us today to talk about what the voters said.

Listen to the full interview above.

Marijuana plant.
USFWS

Marijuana was on the ballot on Lansing, Jackson and Ferndale, and voters in all three cities said "yes" to decriminalizing pot.

Michigan Radio’s Steve Carmody joined us today to talk about the impact of this vote.

Listen to the full interview above.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Some state lawmakers want to limit when local governments can hold property tax elections.

Right now, People in Michigan can find themselves voting on millages in February, May, August or November each year.  

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Monday is the deadline to register to vote for the 56 local elections in Michigan this August.   

Elections range from local primaries to school boards to city council votes.

The Michigan Secretary of State is urging Michiganders to get out to vote in their local elections.

Secretary of State spokesman Fred Woodhams says local elections often affect voters most directly.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan voters will probably still need to affirm their citizenship before they cast ballots.   That's despite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling today.

The nation’s highest court struck down an Arizona law that required individuals to prove their citizenship status when they registered to vote.

Michigan requires voters to ‘affirm’ their citizenship status, but not necessarily provide proof.

Voting sign
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan voters go to the polls on Tuesday.

School bond issues dominate the ballot in most of Michigan.

For example, Kalamazoo voters are being asked to decide on a $62 million bond request. If voters give their OK, the district would spend most of the money on maintaining city school buildings.

There are a few elected offices on the ballot of note.

In Genesee County, voters are picking a new state senator. Former senator John Gleason stepped down after winning the Genesee County clerk’s election last fall.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The man leading the ‘vote Yes’ campaign is optimistic Flint voters will approve a big millage increase on Tuesday.

Pastor Timothy Stokes says “at the end of the day, everyone’s concerned about public safety.”

Stokes is the chairman of the ‘Yes to Police and Fire Protection Committee’.  The group has been campaigning for the passage of a six mill property tax increase that’s on Tuesday’s ballot.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan voters should know by September 7th how many statewide ballot questions and referendums will appear on the November ballot.

Ruth Johnson has faced criticism over the citizenship question on Michigan ballots this year.
user jdurham / MorgueFile.com

Local governments that missed a June deadline to send absentee ballots to Michigan members of the armed forces still can count the votes if they're returned after Tuesday.

A federal judge in Grand Rapids approved a compromise Monday between the U.S. Justice Department and the state of Michigan. The government filed a lawsuit after learning that dozens of clerks missed the deadline.

(Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

The Michigan Supreme Court has cleared the way for Detroiters to vote on whether their city will be the first in the state to legalize marijuana.

(Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Elections officials are scrambling to find eight new locations where Flint residents can vote in November’s election. 

The city’s five dozen voting precincts are located in 35 buildings around Flint.

But, the U.S. Justice Department says 4 churches used as polling places don’t meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.    And, the Flint School District is also closing 4 schools this summer that have been used as polling places. 

“We’re going to go ahead and close them and try to locate alternate sites, which is hard to do in a community such as Flint which is an older urban area," says Inez M. Brown, the Flint City Clerk. 

Brown says six of the eight polling places are located on Flint’s north side, which may make it more difficult to find enough appropriate locations. 

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Voters across Michigan go to the polls on Tuesday.

More than 200 communities are holding elections.   

Most of the questions involve school bond issues.

Bloomfield Hills schools are asking voters to approve a $58 million bond issue to pay for renovations to a high school. This proposal is a scaled back version of similar proposals that have failed in the past. 

Some school districts are asking voters to approve bonds to pay for technology upgrades.  For example the Allegan public school district is asking voters to approve an 18 million dollar bond issue.   Part of that would be spent on computers.

Not everything on the ballots involves schools.

The issue in Delhi Township, near Lansing, is sludge.    Or more accurately,  what to do with it.

The township is asking voters to approve a surcharge on their water bills to pay for a sludge dryer.   Supporters say the dryer would turn human waste into bio-fuel. Opponents say it’s just a waste of money.

*Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that the Bloomfield Hills school bond issue had failed twice before. The current proposal, however, is not that same as previous bond issues. The copy has been corrected above.

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Voting wraps up this week in a referendum that may decide if plans for a casino in downtown Lansing can move forward.

Ballots were mailed to 14 thousand members of the Sault Ste Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians earlier this month.

The basic question is should the tribe move ahead with plans to build a $245 million casino adjacent to Lansing’s downtown convention center.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The race to replace longtime Michigan Congressman Dale Kildee moves into a higher gear today.   

Kildee announced earlier this year he would not seek a 19th term in Congress.   

Today, the outgoing congressman’s nephew, Dan Kildee will  formally announce his candidacy for the Democratic nomination. 

Voter turnout map
Lani Chisnell / Michigan Radio

The Secretary of State's office has released unofficial voter turnout results for all the counties in Michigan (the State Board of Canvassers will make them official later this month).

  • The voters in Leelanau county scored the best turnout rate in the state at 61.60%
  • The voters in Cass county scored the worst turnout rate in the state at 35.74%

Here are the top 5:

Outgoing Secretary of State Terry Lynn Land had expected 52% of eligible voters to show up at the polls yesterday. The unofficial tally stands at 45% today.

The turnout results remain "unofficial" until they are certified by the Board of State Canvassers later this month.

Of the 7.28 million registered to vote, 3.3 million did so.

K Latham / Creative Commons

Governor (race called)

  • Virg Bernero (D) 35%
  • Rick Snyder (R) 62%

Attorney General (race called)

  • David Leyton (D) 38%
  • Bill Schuette (R) 56%

Secretary of State (race called)

  • Jocelyn Benson (D) 41%
  • Ruth Johnson (R) 54%

 

U.S. Congress

  15th District (race called)

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