Election 2020 | Michigan Radio
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Election 2020

Michigan's presidential primary was March 10, the state primary is August 4, and the general election is on November 3. 

Find Michigan Radio's comprehensive coverage of the 2020 election below. 

HIGHLIGHTS:

a photo of "Beach Finds II" which is a light blue box filled with vials laid out in front
Courtesy of Geo Rutherford

Today on Stateside, we'll talk about the biggest races and issues on the August 4 primary ballot. Plus, a conversation with the Michigan Teacher of the Year about the return to school and what it means for his students to have a transgender adult to look up to in their lives.

Michigan’s Primary Election is Tuesday, Aug. 4 and mail-in ballots are already being received by city, township, and county clerks all over the state. 

With all 14 of Michigan's U.S. House seats, one Senate seat, and 110 state House seats at stake this fall on top of community-level elections, there's a lot to keep in mind on Tuesday.

Zach Gorchow of Gongwer News Service and Emily Lawler with MLive join us to go over the top issues, and voting etiquette during a global pandemic. 

ballot drop off box
April Baer / Michigan Radio

Don’t wait. Drop off your ballot in person. It’s too late to put it in the mail if you want it to be counted. That’s the advice elections officials are giving voters in advance of Tuesday’s primaries when a record number of votes will be cast via absentee ballot.


Michigan Supreme Court
Michigan Supreme Court / court.mi.gov

Your vote won’t count even if your ballot is postmarked by Election Day. The Michigan Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal arguing for that.

Instead your ballot must arrive at the clerk’s office by 8:00 p.m. Election Day to be counted.

Kym Worthy
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Prosecutor’s races don’t usually get much attention from voters, but that’s not the case this year. With ongoing protests against police violence and racial injustice, there’s heightened attention on the role prosecutors play as gatekeepers to the criminal justice system.

There are several highly-contested prosecutor’s races on August primary ballots in Michigan. That includes the race in Wayne County, where longtime incumbent Kym Worthy is facing off against criminal defense attorney Victoria Burton-Harris.

Experience versus a reformer

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson expects results for the August primary and November’s general election will be delayed, because so many voters are casting absentee ballots.

Roughly two million Michiganders have requested absentee ballots. Much of the demand is driven by concerns about standing in long lines on election day amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

absentee ballot
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

The COVID-19 pandemic has made a lot of things much more difficult. And with less than one week until the August primary day, voting is the latest challenge for many Michiganders.

One of a series of reports looking at Joe Biden's potential running mates


As the coronavirus spread across the country in March, President Trump held a conference call with the nation's governors and reportedly told them they should try to find their own supplies of ventilators and respirators.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint's city clerk is defending her office’s handling of absentee ballot applications ahead of the next month’s primary election.

This month, the ACLU alleged the Flint City Clerk needed to speed up the processing of absentee ballot requests. A judge ordered the clerk’s office to clear a backlog of applications.

Flint City Clerk Inez Brown says more than 11,000 requests have been processed and nearly a third of the primary ballots have been returned.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

More than 1.8 million Michiganders have requested absentee ballots, about two weeks before the August 4 primary.

607,079 absentee ballots have already been returned. Only 484,094 absentee ballots were cast in the 2016 August primary.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The American Civil Liberties Union claims Flint voters may be denied their right to vote absentee in the August primary.

The ACLU suit finds fault with how the Flint city clerk's office processes absentee ballot applications and other issues.  

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Many Michigan voters plan to stay home for the August primary, but they're still planning to vote.

Clerks around the state have already received more than 1.3 million absentee ballot applications. That's a million more ballots than were requested a month before the 2016 August primary.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

County clerks say they need help providing the personal protective equipment and sanitizers to poll workers for the August and November elections.

In order to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus, election officials are hoping to convince more Michiganders to vote absentee. Clerks started mailing absentee ballots to voters this week for the August 4 primary election.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed into law on Tuesday a measure that should speed up election results in November.

The new law allows city or township clerks to create an "absent voting counting board" with other local clerks to join forces to count absentee ballots.

The Crisler Center
Andy Piper / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic are scrapping plans for a 2020 presidential debate taking place in Ann Arbor this fall as planned. 

The University of Michigan was scheduled to host the second of the three debates between President Donald Trump and presumptive Democratic nominee former vice president Joe Biden on October 15.

But university officials this week withdrew from the debate hosting duties, saying it would be not be “feasible” to safely host the presidential debate as planned.

a michigan absentee ballot
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

All voting would be done by absentee ballot under a bill introduced Wednesday by State Senator Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor). The bill would end in-person voting at polling places.

Under the bill, registered voters would return their ballots by mail or drop them off at designated, local sites.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

On Tuesday, a federal appeals court ruled a lower court erred when it told the state of Michigan exactly how to accommodate candidates trying to get on the August primary ballot.

Some state and federal candidates claimed Michigan’s stay home order prevented them from collecting enough signatures to qualify for the August ballot. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Tuesday’s election is going to be unique in Michigan history.

As part of the effort to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus, there will be no polling locations open for in-person voting on Election Day.

Instead, the May 5 election will be mainly handled with “mail-in” voting.

a michigan absentee ballot
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Michigan election officials have agreed to allow visually impaired voters to use software to complete an absentee ballot in local elections Tuesday. The deal filed in federal court Friday is a temporary fix in an ongoing lawsuit. Voters with visual impairments will have an opportunity to request an absentee ballot typically reserved for military personnel or citizens who are out of the country. The ballots can be completed using electronic reader software. They still must be mailed or delivered to local clerks.

Congressman Justin Amash
Facebook

Michigan Congressman Justin Amash has decided to explore a run for a higher office: President of the United States.

On Twitter Tuesday night, Amash announced he’s formed an exploratory committee to run for the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination.

absentee ballot
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Two Michigan registered voters have sued Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson in federal court, claiming that Michigan's absentee voting system violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The plaintiffs, Michael Powell and Fred Wurtzel, are both blind. Powell is the president of the Michigan Affiliate of the National Federation of the Blind, and Wurtzel is its former president.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A federal judge has denied a request by the state of Michigan to stay a ruling reducing the number of signatures needed to get on the August primary ballot.

Candidates unable to collect signatures because of the governor’s Stay Home order sued and won more time for collect fewer signatures to qualify for the ballot.    The deadline had been this past Tuesday, April 21st.

But the Michigan Attorney General’s office asked the judge to reconsider the ruling, since the Republican congressional candidate who brought the lawsuit had actually met the filing deadline.

wood gavel in front of book
sergign / Adobe Stock

U.S. District Judge Terrence Berg held an emergency hearing Thursday morning on the state's request that he modify the order he issued Monday lowering signature requirements for certain candidates to be on the ballot in the August primary. 

Judge Berg ruled in the Esshaki case that the April 21 filing deadline be extended until May 8, that electronic signature gathering be allowed, and that the minumum signatures required be cut in half. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s Attorney General is asking a federal judge to reconsider a ruling that extended the state’s filing deadline for the August primary. 

person signing a petition while another holds a clipboard
Svetlana / Adobe Stock

A federal judge is ordering the state of Michigan to extend the filing deadline for political candidates trying to get on the August ballot.

“These are not normal times,” U.S. District Judge Terrence Berg wrote in his order, that the state must reduce the number of required signatures by 50%, allow for the collection of electronic signatures, and extend the deadline to May 8.

people collecting signatures
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Candidates for public office who say they haven’t been able to venture out and gather petition signatures because of social distancing say the state should change the candidate filing requirements, and simply extending the deadline wouldn’t be good enough. The candidate filing deadline to qualify for the August primary ballot is Tuesday.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A federal judge is promising to issue a ruling on a lawsuit challenging Michigan’s signature petition deadline for the August primary.

The deadline for candidates to submit petition signatures is April 21st.

But the governor’s Stay Home order due to the COVID-19 pandemic shut down normal petition circulation on March 23rd.

Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders speaking into separate microphones
Gage Skidmore / Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

Only two candidates will be onstage for Sunday's Democratic primary debate: former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. The CNN-Univision debate was relocated from Arizona to Washington, D.C., and will not have an in-person audience due to coronavirus concerns.

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