Follow Election 2012 with Michigan Radio

Welcome to Michigan Radio’s coverage page for the 2012 Election.

If you’re looking for more information to help with your decisions, you can read our collection of stories about key races featured below.

You can also check out our Guide to the Ballot Proposals.

courtesy of Richardville's office

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The top Republican in the Michigan Senate says he has concerns with calls to divide the state's Electoral College votes proportionally.

Changing from a winner-take-all system would have helped Mitt Romney, who lost Michigan to President Barack Obama by 9 percentage points.

Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville said Tuesday he doesn't think the current system is broken, so he doesn't know if he wants to fix it. He says that Michigan got more attention from presidential candidates because they could win all 16 electoral votes.

A bill is expected to be reintroduced in the state House to divide the votes by congressional districts. Such a change would give the GOP an advantage, at least for now. That's because Republican voters outnumber Democrats in more congressional districts.

Jake Neher / MPRN

Michigan’s 16 delegates to the Electoral College have officially cast their votes for President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

The President netted 54 percent of the popular vote in Michigan during last month’s general election.       

Monday’s gathering of Electoral College delegates in the state Senate chambers also included a resolution condemning state lawmakers’ actions in recent weeks.

State Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer presided over the meeting.

“To cast all 16 votes for President Barack Obama, we know that Michigan is a state that believes in opportunity and embraces a vision for our state and for our nation that looks forward. Not one that focuses on an extreme ideological agenda,” Whitmer said.

The resolution criticized the Republican-controlled state legislature for swiftly passing a number of controversial bills in the final weeks of its session.

Michigan Senate Democrats

Listen to the full interview.

The Michigan legislature enters the lame duck session this week. Republicans held onto a majority in the State House, so they’ll be setting the legislative agenda, but Democrats will be watching closely.  Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer talks with Jennifer White. Public Act 4, the emergency manager law, was overturned by Michigan voters last week, could a new version of the law emerge? Plus, a discussion on right to work. And, what could the repeal of the personal property tax on businesses mean for local municipalities?

It’s time for a post-mortem edition of It’s Just Politics and, as the saying goes, it’s time for political reporters to come down from the hills after the battle to bayonet the wounded. Are your blades sharpened?

All six of the state’s ballot questions were voted down with a majority of “no” votes. “No” was what the people who put Proposal One on the ballot wanted – voter rejection of the state’s super controversial emergency manager law. That was bad news for Governor Rick Snyder. Public Act Four was one of the first laws he signed as a big supporter of tough medicine for cities and school districts that find themselves in big financial trouble. The Governor’s chosen candidate for U.S. Senate, former West Michigan Congressman Pete Hoekstra, lost to incumbent Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow. His endorsement didn’t seem to do Mitt Romney much good in Michigan either. But still, he’s a happy guy… you can’t keep this nerd down.  

In fact, the Governor has five reasons to be happy: Proposals Two through Six went down in defeat, just as he wanted. It’s pretty interesting to note that after millions and millions of dollars were spent – on both sides of the proposals – that they all went down by pretty large margins. Proposal One made a race of it. But we just have to wonder if it didn’t get pulled down by the “just say ‘no’” campaign waged by Snyder, business groups, and many Republicans.

On the very top of the ticket, however, voters said “Yes” to Democrats. For the sixth time in a row, Michigan voted for the Democratic candidate for President. And, the Obama machine was just that – a machine. Data-driven, organized and relentless. Republicans thought they had a shot at Michigan – never happened. Meanwhile, as we mentioned, incumbent Senator Debbie Stabenow won a third term in the U.S. Senate. The GOP thought they had a shot at the seat. Never happened.  Pete Hoekstra never seemed to recover after the China Super Bowl ad debacle. He won the primary, true, but his campaign never picked up steam.

Gary McDowell

It was a close race, but the votes have been counted and Democrat Gary McDowell conceded the 1st Congressional district race to incumbent Republican Congressman Dan Benishek.

McDowell conceded the election last night.

By last count, Benishek and McDowell were separated by less than 1 percent of the vote.

David Defoe / flickr

On Weekend Edition,  Rina Miller talks with Michigan Radio's political analyst Jack Lessenberry about some of the biggest news stories of the week. This week they discuss election turn out, how marijuana laws have been eased in some cities in the state, and the possible change to how public defense attorneys are appointed in Michigan.

Revenge of a Michigan nerd: Nate Silver's election night victory

Nov 9, 2012
JD Lasica / flickr

President Obama defeated one Michigan native Tuesday night, but in doing so contributed directly to the landslide victory of another.

Obama’s victories in a number of swing states vindicated the predictions of East Lansing native and celebrity political forecaster Nate Silver.

Former Republican Congressman Thaddeus McCotter jammed with his blues band after announcing his run for the presidency over the July 4th weekend in 2011.
Vincent Duffy / Michigan Radio

In Michigan's freaky 11th Congressional District, the Republican candidate both won AND lost on Election Day.

It all started here... when this guy's campaign imploded:

Then this reindeer rancher stepped into the race for the Republicans...

And two elections were needed to sort the mess out.

z.duffy / flickr

Whether your candidates won or lost this week, we can all rejoice that it’s finally over. 

Or, we think it is.  We can’t be sure anymore, can we? 

All this made me ponder the relative craziness of politics versus sports. I got to thinking: Which is sillier?  Playing politics, or playing sports? 

As silly as sports are – and I seem to devote half my commentaries to that very subject – after watching the 2012 campaigns, I can tell you, it’s not even close: Playing politics is sillier, in a landslide.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Two days post-election and there was a mixed bag of results here in Michigan. President Obama won, the State House held onto a Republican majority, all of the proposed constitutional amendments were voted down, and the emergency manager law was overturned. Michigan Radio's Jennifer White talks election results and what they mean for Michigan. She was joined by Susan Demas, political analyst for Michigan Information and Research Service, and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants.

gophouse.com

Despite losing a handful of seats in Tuesday’s election, Republicans have hung on to a small majority in the state House.

Democrats look to have picked up five seats, narrowing GOP control to eight.

Inside Michigan Politics Editor Bill Ballenger said Democrats had a chance to take control of the House.

“But apparently they squandered three-quarters of a million dollars trying to beat the speaker in a 57% Republican district out of some, I guess, personal vendetta about the Roy Schmidt party switch,” Ballenger said.

Stateside: Financial transparency in politics

Nov 7, 2012
Laura Weber / Michigan Public Radio Network

Millions of dollars were invested in Michigan’s recent ballot proposals.

While citizens were aware that money was being spent, it was often unclear how much money was spent and from whom it was coming.

Michigan Radio’s Lester Graham and Rich Robinson, director of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, spoke with Cyndy about the need for financial transparency in elections.

A lot more money was spent in this election year than in past elections and much of that money at the national level and in Michigan was so-called ‘dark money.’

“Literally hundreds of millions not traceable to any donor in federal campaigns and certainly tens-of-millions in Michigan election campaigns," said Rich Robinson with the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.

Julian H. Gonzalez / Twitter

We'll be posting news and information about election results here in Michigan on this blog post.

Refresh for updates.

Here are the vote tallies so far in Michigan.

You can also check out our Live Blog: Battleground ... contributions from NPR member stations.

And NPR's national live blog is below.

Update 1:52 a.m.

Thank you for following this blog. We're tired now, and we're going home. Our news team in the morning will pick things up and report on the races we've been following around Michigan.

1:36 a.m.

President Obama speaking to a crowd in Chicago now.

Here's an update on the Ann Arbor votes:

The Library Millage looks like it is headed for defeat with 71% reporting:

54% NO to 45% YES

The Arts proposal also appears to be failing:

55% NO to 45% YES

The parks millage in Ann Arbor passed.

1:19 a.m.

The race for Michigan's 1st Congressional District is very close with 87% reporting:

  • Gary McDowell (D) 48%
  • Dan Benishek (R) 48%

1:12 a.m.

The race for 2 seats on the Michigan's Supreme Court is close. With 66% reporting:

  • Bridget Mary McCormick 24%
  • Stephen Markman (incumbent) 23%
  • Colleen O'Brien 22%
  • Connie Kelly 21%

12:51 a.m.

Update on Proposal 1 - 61% reporting:

  • 51% no
  • 49% yes

Still waiting on votes from Wayne County.

12:38 a.m.

Michigan House Speaker Jase Bolger (R-Marshall) wins in a tight race for the 63rd District in Michigan over Bill Farmer (D).

12:31 a.m.

It's a waiting game in Ann Arbor (60% of the vote counted):

Ann Arbor Library Millage: 53% no, 46% yes

Ann Arbor Arts Proposal: 54% no, 45% yes

12:20 a.m.

Proposal 1 update:
(with 51% precincts reporting)

51% no, 49% yes

Dan Kildee has been elected to Congressional District 5.

12:17 a.m.

Kerry Bentivolio (R) in Michigan's 11th Congressional District is leading with 50% of the vote to Sayed Taj's (D) 44% - 77% of the vote is counted.

Kerry Bentivolio leaves "victory party" without making formal speech; reporters feel cheated.

The race for Michigan's 1st Congressional District is neck and neck.

Dan Benishek (R) 48%
Gary McDowell (D) 48%
(69% of the vote counted)

11:55 p.m.

Labor leaders are looking to regroup in the wake of the defeat of Proposal 2.

The measure would have locked collective bargaining rights into the state Constitution.

Detroit Federation of Teachers President Keith Johnson says without the amendment, organized labor will likely continue to lose clout.
 
"It allows statutes to be passed by the Legislature that pretty much peel away at collective bargaining rights like skin off of an onion," said Johnson.
 
Organized labor leaders also hope to defeat Proposal 1, and repeal Michigan's emergency manager law. That race has yet to be called.

11:50 p.m.

All the proposed amendments to the Michigan Constitution went down tonight, including the Bridge vote (Proposal 6). The family that owns the Ambassador Bridge that backed Proposal 6, the Moroun family, spent close to $30 million on the campaign.

In a statement released tonight, the family defended their investment in the campaign:

"We are happy with the investment made in this campaign on behalf of taxpayers and the 5,000 families employed by Ambassador Bridge family of companies. Like any family business, we would do it again - and will in different ways - to defend economic freedom and limited government."

11:45 p.m.

Winnie Brinks (D) defeats Roy Schmidt (R) in the 76th State House District in Grand Rapids.

Nicole Agruda / Twitter

Here are the election results for the races we watched here at Michigan Radio.

Please go to your county's election page for more detailed results in your area.

You can also find information about the races not listed below on the Secretary of State's general elections website.

Winners are in bold.

Victoria Tokarczyk / Twitter

It's Election Day and Michigan voters have been hitting the polls all day.

We have about two hours to go, and we have some reports about how things have been going.

We’ve heard lines are running smoothly, but there have been a few hiccups.

In Flint and East Lansing some ballot scanners have had a hard time digesting this year’s extra long ballot.

This has led to early delays, but election officials in Flint have assured voters that the ballots would be counted, MLive reports.

In at least one Michigan location voters encountered the controversial citizenship checkbox on their ballot applications. This after a federal judge ruled the box unconstitutional.

Spencer Howell of Oakland County reported seeing the box, and said that he thinks the box is inappropriate.

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

Michigan Radio has received word that in at least one polling location voters encountered the controversial citizenship checkbox on ballot applications.

Oakland County resident Spencer Howell said that he was surprised to see the question when he went to cast his vote at Holly High School.

Howell knew of the controversy surrounding the checkbox and had a difficult time deciding whether or not to answer the question.

He decided to answer, but still thinks the question is inappropriate.

**Refresh this page often for the latest updates.**

A quick head's up on what this is. The Battleground is an aggregation of NPR member stations' content produced during election night. It's curated by the staff at NPR Digital Services, including Eric Athas, Teresa Gorman, Will Snyder, Kim Perry and Erin Teare Martin. The list of participating stations and states is posted at the bottom.

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.

The incumbent president was a Democrat, a controversial figure whose legitimacy was doubted by millions, right from the start. His Republican challenger was a Michigan native, but one who left the state after high school, and moved east.

He found fame and fortune, and was eventually elected governor of his adopted state, then won the right to take on the sitting president. His followers, including the Wall Street Journal and the Detroit News, were convinced his election was necessary to save the nation from government spending run amok.

I heard a political ad for radio this week that really got me angry.

OK…sure…I’m probably not alone in that.

But I wasn’t angry because I agree or disagreed with the position taken, or because the ad was misleading or an outright fabrication.

I’m used to “pants on fire” statements in political ads and even expect it. 

What bothered me about this particular ad was that it was produced to sound exactly like a news story. A news story that’s close enough to being possible that many listeners could be easily fooled.

Stateside: Five questions for Tim Martin

Nov 5, 2012

Tim Martin, the Lansing reporter for MLive,  joined Stateside to answer five questions facing Michigan voters.

Listen to the above audio to hear Martin address the ballot proposals, the presidential race and the Michigan Senate.

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

Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

Some people hoping to avoid long lines tomorrow by voting absentee in person today found themselves waiting hours to cast ballots.

At least that was the story in Detroit, where Willie Ann Brown stood outside the Department of Elections still holding a number after nearly three hours of waiting to get a ballot.

"Actually I've been to two of the satellite locations, and they had, like four hour waits and I have to get to work, so I've been trying get to vote," said Brown. "I'm going to vote."

Michigan does not technically offer early voting, like some states do. But people can vote absentee if they provide a reason they won't be able to vote in-person on Election Day.

Calvin Trent took friends to vote at two locations in Detroit. He says the crowds looking to cast ballots early this election are much bigger than he's seen in previous elections.

"Well, the ballot is so long, and people think they're going to be in line forever tomorrow," said Trent. "So that's why people are trying to vote early."

Detroit voters face 18 proposals on the ballot, including questions from the city, the county and the state.

6 things to know before you head to the polls in Michigan

Nov 5, 2012

Election Day is tomorrow.

That means voters should know who the candidates are and where they can find the polls.

Cheat sheets in polling places are allowed (this isn't a test), but political paraphernalia is not allowed inside the polls (so leave your Joseph F. Burke  for 15th District Judge t-shirt at home).

For those who need more information, Michigan Radio has assembled a last minute list of things to know.

Polls open tomorrow, November 6, at 7:00 a.m. and close at 8:00 p.m.

1) You can vote even if you don't have an ID

user Jeffness / Wikipedia

Even though they are on the non-partisan part of the ballot, the Republican and Democratic parties spend millions of dollars to get their candidates elected to Michigan’s highest court.

Three of the court’s seven seats are up this year.

That means the election will decide whether the court will continue to tilt toward the right under Republican control, or shift to a Democratic majority.

Relatively few people know the candidates running for Michigan’s highest court, but it’s not for a lack of spending by political parties.

user JaHoVil / Flickr

If the latest poll from EPIC MRA is accurate, it appears all the ballot proposals are headed for defeat, though three of them appear close.

There are a lot of undecided voters (18 percent for Proposal 1).

Kelly Sullivan of EPIC MRA says based on past elections results, these voters tend to either vote 'no,' or they tend not to vote at all on the proposal in question.

So that tips the scales even further into the 'no' category for all of the ballot proposals.

The election is now only four days away, and I’ve been thinking about what will happen afterward.

Earlier this week, I received a nasty phone call from a woman named Bonnie.

She believes President Obama is evil, and a traitor.

She thinks the media are covering up the truth behind the killing of the American ambassador to Libya.

She was also upset that we are covering up the “fact,” as she put it, that President Obama’s family were all Communists.

I told her, in not very polite terms, that was idiotic.

She began screaming and I hung up.

Stateside: Judge O'Brien's case for candidacy

Nov 1, 2012
http://www.colleenobrien.org/

Judge Colleen O'Brien, who currently sits on the Oakland County Circuit Court, spoke with Stateside about her candidacy.  

“I practiced law for 17 years and I’m running for the same reason I ran for circuit court. When I practiced law I had the opportunity to appear in the court rooms of many different judges and I would have the same set of facts but I would go to three different counties and get three different decisions. That is not the way our legal system is supposed to work. We need judges that follow the law,” said O’Brien.

CedarBendDrive/flickr

Michigan House Representatives are up for election next Tuesday. All 110 seats. Both Houses of the legislature hold Republican majorities, but this election could mark a shift of power in Lansing if Democrats gain more votes. Jennifer White talks with Susan Demas, political analyst with Michigan Information and Research Service, and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants.

What's on your ballot? Election 2012 voting resources

Nov 1, 2012

So far over $140 million has been spent by campaigns for and against Michigan's six ballot proposals. That kind of money can pay for a lot of information (or misinformation) in the form of TV ads, phone calls, and mailers.

Thus Michigan voters can be forgiven for losing patience with the process. But that doesn't relieve them of their democratic duties.

Here are a few resources that voters can use to get the basic information they'll need for election day, and if they choose, a little more:

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