Inside the Newsroom

News, commentary, insight on local happenings and fun from the staff of The Saline Reporter and Milan News-Leader.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Vote in the Mich. Primary? What the heck?

I admit it. I was/am confused. Why is Michigan having a primary? Why all the $$$ spent on the closed primary election? Hmm. Still, it's off to the polls tomorrow. Come on. Get off your butt and go vote. Here's some basics from the county Web site I found useful. In Saline, vote either at Liberty School or the Methodist Church. 8am - 7 pm -Get more details at

Prior to receiving a ballot each voter must declare the party primary they would like to vote in. It's an "open primary" which means you can chose either party's ballot. Here is how it will work;

1. In order to vote in the January 15th election you must be a registered voter in the state of Michigan on or before December 17, 2007.
2. Upon entering the precinct you will complete your application to vote.
3. For this election the application to vote will have a section for “party preference”. You are required to fill in the oval in to receive either the Republican or Democratic ballot.
You do not need to be a member of a party to vote in this election. This is a Republican and Democratic primary so you must select either Republican or Democratic. By making this selection you are not joining a party. There is not a third option. If you do not make a selection you will not be given a ballot. You cannot request both ballots. If you would like to see both ballots prior to making a selection there are Sample ballots at each precinct . Also on the city of Saline Web site.

4. You will then be asked to show identification. Election inspectors will be verifying your name and physical identity. The new photo identification law went into effect in November of 2007.
All voters in Michigan are now required to show identification. Voters who do not bring picture identification to the polls or do not possess picture identification may still vote after signing an affidavit.

5. Your name will then be verified as a registered voter within that precinct and you will be recorded as either voting in the Republican or Democratic primary based upon your selection.
This list will be given to the Republican and Democratic party. It is not a public list and therefore is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act. If you refuse to have your party selection recorded you will not be given a ballot.

6. You will then be handed either the Republican or Democratic ballot depending on your selection.
7. At this point you will be directed to the voting booth where you will make your selection within that particular party’s primary. Here you will be given instructions on how to properly mark the ballot. You may only vote for one candidate. There is a write-in section on the ballot. However, there are no valid write-in candidates. If you write-in the name of a particular candidate your ballot will be accepted by the machine, but the candidates name you wrote in will not be counted.

There is an “uncommitted” selection on the ballot. By voting “uncommitted” you are indicating that you have chosen to vote in a particular party’s primary, however you do not wish to vote for one of the listed candidates.
You may also vote a “blank” ballot. The machine will reject the ballot letting you know that it is blank, but upon request the inspector will accept the ballot.
8. You will then insert your ballot into the voting machine where your vote will be counted.

On the republican ballot are: Brownback, Giuliani, Huckabee, Hunter, McCain, Paul, Romney, Tancredo, Thompson. Brownback and Tancredo have withdrawn their candidacy so don't waste your lead on those guys.
On the democratic party ballot are: Gravel, Kucinich, Clinton, Dodd. Though - Dodd withdrew his candidacy so don't bother filling in this oval.
Remember, Michigan will not have any delegates anyways at the Democratic National Committee since the state was stripped of its delegates because it moved ahead of the Feb 5 without permission. Obama and Edwards pulled their names from the ballot after this move. You could take a Dem ballot, vote "uncommitted" and (if 15% of voters do so) help send delegates to the convention who are not pledged to any candidate. Dems and independents may vote in the Republican primary.


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