voting

Voting booth
suttonhoo.blogspot.com

The presidential election is still a month away, but in many states, early voting is already underway.

Today, Ohio opened the polls to early voters.

It’s one of 34 states that have some kind of early voting system.

Michigan, however, is not one of those states.

Last week, I went to my local city hall. I was feeling good. It was my daughter’s 18th birthday. I helped her register to vote - civic pride for a dad.

After that, my mood darkened.

The fight over how the Republican majority in the Michigan House of Representatives counts votes has gone to the state Court of Appeals.

Democrats sued Republicans to require recorded votes on a procedural motion that determines when a new law will go into effect.

The motion to make a law effective immediately requires a two-thirds super-majority that Republicans don’t have in the House.

Michael Hodge is the attorney representing Democrats in the lawsuit.

Today is primary election day, and if you haven’t voted yet, I wish you would, even if there is only one race you care about.

Most of us won’t vote. Bill Ballenger, who has been closely watching politics in this state for half a century, predicts that less than one-fifth of Michigan’s registered voters are going to vote today.

Sadly, I don’t think he is wrong. That bothers me for a lot of reasons, one of which is that when I was twelve years old, three college students were tortured and murdered in Mississippi for trying to register people to vote.

mattileo / flickr

Every Thursday we look at Michigan politics with Ken Sikkema, former Senate majority leader and senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants, and Susan Demas, political analyst for Michigan Information and Research Service.

Republicans in the Legislature got a bit of a surprise this week when Gov. Snyder vetoed three of the 14 new bills related to voting. What would those three vetoed bills have done?

I don’t know how Governor Snyder celebrated the Fourth of July yesterday, but I have a strong hunch he didn’t stop by Secretary of State Ruth Johnson’s place for some barbecue.

The Governor stunned the secretary and other fellow Republicans Tuesday by vetoing three election bills. He said he feared they might be confusing.

“Voting rights are precious and we need to work especially hard to make it possible for people to vote,” he said.

user wasted time R / wikimedia commons

Playing politics with the ballot: conflicts of interest for Michigan's Board of State Canvassers

A second potential conflict of interest has appeared on the Board of State Canvassers. That’s the bipartisan state panel that approves petitions and decides whether questions will go on the statewide ballot.

In both cases, the panel members have business or employment interests in the issues put in front of them. They’re big, too, and controversial – a potential challenge to Michigan’s emergency manager law and a preemptive strike at “right-to-work” legislation.

The Michigan Republican Party State Central Committee has decided the state GOP will use a closed presidential primary next year.

That means voters will have to declare a party preference to participate. If Michigan sticks with a February 28 election date, the state GOP could lose half its delegates to the national nominating convention for meeting earlier than party rules allow.

Michigan GOP leaders say the early influence is worth the risk. Michigan Democrats plan to hold closed caucuses May 5, and will likely withdraw from the primary election ballot.

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:

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)

Update 11:50pm: In his victory speech Governor-elect Rick Snyder says he'll apply business principals to resolve Michigan's economic troubles, including tax cuts and smarter regulation:

Update 10:39pm: Virg Bernero talks to crowd at party

Update 10:09pm: Virg Bernero has conceded defeat. He's giving a speech now.

Update 9:30: Detroit Mayor Dave Bing says crowd needs to show Virg Bernero the "love and respect" he deserves when he comes down to make his speech.

Polling station sign
user jaina / Creative Commons

People in northern states may be cold, but they seem to vote in higher numbers than in some other states.

In the 2008 election, these states had the highest turnout rates from their voting eligible population according to Michael McDonald's United States Elections Project:

People voting
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Alex Halderman - the University of Michigan professor who successfully hacked into a test version of the Washington, D.C.'s computer voting system - says Michigan voters should not be worried that their votes will be tampered with on Tuesday's election. 

Haldermn says most of Michigan’s polling places use optical scanners: voters fill out paper ballots that get scanned into a computer.

Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell at a podium
Kalamazoo Public Library

Democratic Party leaders in Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties have chosen their candidate to replace Robert Jones - Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell.

Robert Jones was running for the Michigan Senate in the 20th district when he died over the weekend. He was battling esophageal cancer.

In Michigan, votes for a deceased candidate do not count, so party leaders had to put forward a new candidate.

Inside the Michigan Senate.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Since Robert Jones  passed away this past weekend, election officials have been working to come up with a plan of action. Jones was a candidate for the Michigan Senate and the election is just fourteen days away.

Lars Plougmann / Creative Commons

Here are some numbers for you from the Michigan Secretary of State's office.

  • 95.5% - percent of the voting age population in Michigan registered to vote
  • 7.28 million people registered - a record for a Michigan gubernatorial election
  • 7.40 million people - the highest number of registered voters Michigan has ever seen (2008 presidential election)

But just because people are registered to vote doesn't mean they will.

Pages