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elections

sign that says "vote here"
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Some election officials in Michigan say they want more time to be able to count absentee votes.

That would require a change in state law.

Barb Byrum is clerk of Ingham County. She says absentee ballots made up 68% of the vote in the county’s most recent election. She says that’s a significant increase compared to previous elections.

voting booths
user eyspahn / Flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Members of Ann Arbor’s city council failed to override a mayoral veto on an initiative to put a proposal to end nonpartisan voting on the November 2019 ballot. The council needed eight votes to override the veto, and the council voted 7-4 for the override.

Detroit brought in new voting equipment for 2017 elections after rampant problems with 2016 vote.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The Wayne County Board of Canvassers wants to know what went wrong with the county’s election website during last week’s primary.

The board is expected to meet Monday with the CEO of ElectionSource, the Grand Rapids-based company that runs the county’s election results reporting website, to try and get answers.

political yard signs
Scorpians and Centaurs / Flickr

Next Tuesday is primary election day in Michigan. That means come Wednesday, it’s time for general election campaigns.

But, how does a candidate actually win? What strategy will get them from primary winner to governor or attorney general or county drain commissioner?

Polling place
Rebecca Williams / Michigan Radio

 


The Pew Research Center recently released a report on midterm voting that found more voters are engaged earlier this election year.

“Compared with recent midterms, more voters say their view of the president – positive or negative – will influence their vote for Congress," the report said. “A 60 percent majority say they consider their midterm vote as essentially a vote either for Donald Trump (26 percent) or against him (34 percent). These are among the highest shares saying their view of the president would be a factor in their vote in any midterm in more than three decades.”

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

After another light voter turnout in the May election, the Genesee County clerk says it’s time to consolidate future elections to August and November.

There were elections May 8 in 66 of Michigan’s 83 counties. Voters were mostly asked to decide school millages and bond requests. 

Clerk John Gleason says the May election in Genesee County drew less than 10%, and in some cases much less.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

 A federal judge has declined to dismiss a lawsuit over Michigan's ban on straight-party voting.

The decision Friday means Judge Gershwin Drain will hold a trial on whether the law violates the rights of black voters, who typically vote Democratic. The decision wasn't a big surprise: The same judge expressed concern and suspended the ban before the 2016 election.

Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

It's primary election day for cities in Michigan. 

There have been scattered, unconfirmed reports of polls opening late and voters being turned away. 

But so far, the problems don't seem anywhere near the scale they were in last year's presidential race. 

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

July 4 is coming up, but it’s not here quite yet. As the grills are fired up and the fireworks prepped, the It’s Just Politics team of Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta join Stateside to catch up on what’s happening in Michigan politics this holiday week.

Rick Pluta / MPRN

The vote recount in Michigan has ended. But it did reveal some problems.

The Secretary of State is planning to audit several Detroit polling places because of irregularities. The number of ballots in the recount containers did not match the number of voters who signed in. In other counties, there were some additional discrepancies as well.

It's Election Day, but that doesn't mean the fun stops here. Grossmann told us many politicians are looking four years ahead, and, "in some ways, [the 2020 presidential campaign] has already started."
Ryan Grimes / Michigan Radio

 

Election Day marks the finish line of a grueling, fractious and long campaign.

It started with Ted Cruz announcing his candidacy in March 2015.

Twenty months later, many Americans are expressing their exhaustion with the process.

Many people are looking wistfully to other countries like Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland and France, which elect their leaders in a few weeks and then move on.

Michigan State University associate professor of political science Matt Grossmann sat down with us today to talk about how the process for electing our president became so protracted.

voting booths
user eyspahn / Flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The U.S. Justice Department will keep a close eye on things in Michigan this election day.

But according to Detroit’s U.S. Attorney, that’s largely business as usual.

Barbara McQuade has appointed Dawn Ison, a “very experienced” prosecutor from her office’s public corruption unit, to be the District Election Officer.

Ison will “be on call” all day to take any complaints of potential federal election violations, from potential fraud to complaints of voter intimidation. She also has a direct line to the Justice Department in Washington if the need arises.

Campaign signs
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

People complain about political ads, robo-calls interrupting dinner, and mailboxes full of campaign literature.

But there’s another sign of election season: political yard signs. Candidates love them. Political consultants say they’re a waste of time and money.

straight-party voting
Lars Plougmann

Just 1 in 5 Michigan voters cast a ballot Tuesday. While that doesn’t sound like a lot, it’s actually close to a record high turnout for this kind of primary.

“There were a number of highly-contested congressional primaries across the state, so that helped drive interest,” says Fred Woodhams, spokesperson from the Michigan Secretary of State’s office.

Empty classroom
Motown31 / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 

Michigan school boards are facing a dearth of candidates in the November election. Nearly 1,600 seats will open up in 540 districts across the state. Yet, in the 2014 elections, approximately 70 seats remained empty. Why are people so reluctant to serve on their school boards?

Detroit Public Schools students participated in a mock election on May 19 to decide on two DPS-specific ballot measures and vote in presidential primaries.
pinehurst19475 / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The results are in, and Bernie Sanders is the winner -- of a mock election that 5,139 Detroit Public Schools students on 22 high-school campuses participated in on May 19. 

The Vermont senator took 58.12% of the Democratic vote and received 2,844 votes overall, according to a DPS release, beating out former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the next-highest vote-getter, by a comfortable margin. Clinton received 1,857 votes.

people in voting booths
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Ann Arbor Public Schools will close on May 3, an election day.

Many schools are polling places, and Superintendent Jeanice Swift says there are concerns about people coming into unlocked buildings to vote.

Swift says Ann Arbor is not alone in grappling with the issue.

"It is on the minds of districts across the state and around the country, " she says.

Swift says some districts have elected to use election days as professional development days, and Ann Arbor may do the same, or the city may decide to find other places for people to vote.

sign that says "vote here"
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder has signed a controversial elections bill, but has called for a fix to clear up some confusion in the new law.

The new law puts limits on local officials’ ability to campaign for millages and other local ballot questions in the two months before an election. Local officials say it’s basically an effort to silence them.

  

people in voting booths
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder has signed a law that eliminates the choice of voting a straight-party ballot with a single mark on Election Day, despite the fact that the option has been upheld twice by voters.

However, voters will not have the opportunity to challenge the new law on the ballot because Republican lawmakers tucked into it a $5 million spending provision that makes it immune to a referendum.

user jdurham / MorgueFile.com

Local governments in Michigan are not happy about some last-minute language added to a bill that just passed the state legislature.

Senate Bill 571 is mostly about campaign finance issues.

But tucked in at the very end of the bill is a provision that cities and townships argue amounts to a “gag rule” on them.

Inside the Michigan Senate
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Legislation that would eliminate the straight-ticket voting option on Michigan ballots is headed to Gov. Rick Snyder’s desk.

Rick Pluta, co-host of It’s Just Politics and the Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network, tells us that if signed, this legislation would have three effects:

straight-party voting
Lars Plougmann

Detroit city clerk Janice Winfrey and voting rights advocates are denouncing a pair of election bills in the Michigan Legislature right now.

One is a state Senate bill that would restrict absentee voting hours, and ban absentee voting at satellite office locations.

Winfrey says Detroit is one of just a few Michigan cities to use satellite voting, and it’s been “very successful” there.

If you want your vote to really count, vote local

Nov 3, 2015

Today is Election Day, if you hadn’t noticed, and the safest prediction anyone can make is that turnout will be terrible. The vast majority of eligible voters won’t vote at all.

This is what they call an “off-off year election,” meaning that no major statewide or national races are on the ballot; no president, governors or senators.

But if anyone thinks this is not an important election, think again. 



The actress best known for playing Laura Ingalls Wilder on “Little House on the Prairie” in the 1970s and early 80s moved to Michigan two years ago with her actor husband Timothy Busfield.

On Monday, she announced a run for Congress in Michigan’s 8th District. It covers cities like East Lansing, Howell, Fenton, Clarkston, Lake Orion and Rochester.

grand rapids mayor rosalynn bliss
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics, Michigan Radio’s senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry and Morning Edition host Christina Shockley discuss the first female mayor of Grand Rapids, this week's elections,  accusations of racism against Gov. Snyder and Detroit emergency managers, the number of college degrees among Michigan lawmakers.


User: PunkToad / flickr

Sabra Briere (D-Ward 1), Zachary Ackerman (D-Ward 2), John Eaton (D-Ward 4) and Chip Smith (D-Ward 5) won their primary election races. Currently, the four Democratic candidates face no opposition in the November general election. 

Lansing City Council primary election results

Aug 5, 2015
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The top four will advance to the general election

Carol Wood 4771 votes (40.5%)

Patricia A. Spitzley 2190 votes (18.6%)

Harold J. Leeman Jr. 2171 votes (18.4%)

Emily Dievendorf 1589 votes (13.5%)

Mary Ann Prince will not advance, with 1068 votes (9.1%)

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint Mayor Dayne Walling will get a chance to keep his job, though he would first have to defeat a political novice in November.

Walling finished first in Tuesday’s mayoral primary.

grand rapids mayor rosalynn bliss
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Rosalynn Bliss will be Grand Rapids' new mayor.

Bliss soundly defeated her opponents in today's primary, winning 66% of the vote and negating the need for a run-off election in November.

Non-partisan commission would make more Michigan votes count

Jul 27, 2015
Michigan House Republicans

A counterpoint to this essay can be found here

The Next Idea

Everybody who sets foot in a voting booth wants to know that their vote counts just as much as the vote of the next person in line. Faith in our democratic system rests on fair and representative elections.

Unfortunately, Michigan’s political map has been manipulated to the point that not all votes count the same. Politicians have drawn political districts so that in many places around our state, who wins or loses is a foregone conclusion long before the end of election night. They created the political map this way in order to give themselves and their party a head start in an election, much to the detriment of our democracy and your vote.

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