voting

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

With emergency manager Kevyn Orr running Detroit, the city’s elected officials have very few real powers. So Detroiters could be forgiven for asking: Why bother to vote at all?

But for some Detroiters, there was no question about exercising the right to vote.

And turnout for this election was higher than expected, at upwards of 25%.

Detroit city clerk Janice Winfrey had projected that less than 25% of voters would participate.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Today  is the deadline to register to vote for the November elections. Michigan residents can go to their local Secretary of State's office or a city clerk's office to register.

Fred Woodhams is with the Michigan Secretary of State. He says there is still time for people to register to vote.

"This November, 75 of Michigan's 83 counties will have elections. Probably the most publicized one is the Detroit mayoral race," he said. "Certainly Detroit residents will be voting on city council members as well, and cities throughout the state will have council elections."

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.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

US education secretary to visit Detroit schools

"President Obama's education secretary will be in Detroit on Monday for a town hall meeting on education issues and visits to three area schools," the Associated Press reports.

Palisades nuclear power plant shut down after water leak

"Operators of the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant in southwestern Michigan removed it from service Sunday because of a repeat water leak from a tank that caused seepage into the control room last year. The plant has been under extra Nuclear Regulatory Commission scrutiny after numerous safety issues. There were four shutdowns last year and at least two this year," the Associated Press reports.

Michigan voters head to the polls Tuesday

Many Michigan communities will be voting in local elections on Tuesday. Local elections including filling the vacant mayor's seat in Troy, choosing a new state senator in Genesee County, and in many parts of the state, residents can vote on school board issues.

user eyspahn / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A couple of recent columns in Bridge Magazine caught our eye and we wanted to bring the writers together to share their thoughts with you.

The subject: exercising our right to vote.

From coast-to-coast, too many Americans sit on the sidelines when it comes to Election Day.

And, looking at the City of Detroit, with its state-appointed emergency manager running things, Detroiter Karen Dumas believes that Detroiters have paid a price for what she calls a "lack of diligence."

She spelled out her thoughts in a recent Bridge column.

And Bridge staff writer Nancy Derringer reports on a group in Detroit trying to "make voting cool," especially among the young people who are starting to move into the city.

Listen to the full interview above.

Busy day for Michigan's Secretary of State

Nov 6, 2012
Michigan Secretary of State, Ruth Johnson.
MI SOS

It is perhaps the busiest day of the year for Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson. Michigan polling locations will be open until 8 p.m. tonight.  And, it will likely be some time before we have the final calls in many of the races.  Michigan Radio's Jennifer White spoke with Ruth Johnson about the long lines at the polls, frustration over the voter verification check box, and when we should all expect to hear some results.

As many as 650 voters in Ypsilanti may have received absentee ballots in the mail without any instructions.

Francis McMullen, the Ypsilanti City Clerk, says only two voters have contacted her office so far, but she wants all voters to have what they need.  So her team is mailing instructions to everyone who received an absentee ballot.

Three days ago, U.S. District Judge Paul Borman ruled that Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson had to stop asking voters to check a box reaffirming they are a U.S. citizen before casting a ballot at their polling place during next month’s election.

His ruling was about as surprising as snow in January, and I have to confess that I have a hard time understanding where the secretary of state is coming from. This was something the governor vetoed and her own legal staff told her to keep off absentee ballots.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

Romney campaign in Michigan this week

"Mitt Romney's campaign is showing Michigan some love this week. Romney's running mate Paul Ryan holds a rally at Oakland University tonight. That follows Saturday's appearance by Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in suburban Detroit. And this Friday, Mitt Romney's wife, Ann, will stop in Grand Rapids," Tracy Samilton reports.

Voter registration deadline is tomorrow

The last day to register to vote in the Nov. 6 election is tomorrow. According to Michigan Secretary of State's website.

"Voters may register by mail, at their county, city or township clerk's office, or by visiting any Secretary of State office. The mail-in form is available at www.Michigan.gov/elections. First-time voters who register by mail must vote in person in their first election, unless they hand-deliver the application to their local clerk, are 60 years old or older, are disabled or are eligible to vote under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act. To check their registration status, residents may visit the Michigan Voter Information Center at www.Michigan.gov/vote. On the website, residents can view a sample ballot, find their polling location, learn about absentee voting, get information on Michigan's voter ID laws and view contact information for their local clerk."

Twenty cases of meningitis in Michigan

"At least 20 cases of meningitis have been confirmed in Michigan, including two deaths. The meningitis outbreak has been linked to a steroid produced by a specialty pharmacy in Massachusetts. The steroid has been recalled," the AP reports.

Want to vote early in Michigan? What's your excuse?

Oct 2, 2012
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.

Gov. Snyder and the election bills

Jul 5, 2012
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
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.

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

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.

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