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elections

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.

State law specifically says people without photo IDs, can sign an affidavit - and still vote
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Democrats in the Legislature are calling for changes to how legislative districts are drawn.

The effort is built off a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision. The decision says voters can take the power to draw district lines away from the Legislature and hand it to an independent commission.

straight-party voting
Lars Plougmann

Republicans in the state Senate have put a damper on a legislative effort to allow no-reason absentee voting in Michigan.

A Republican-sponsored bill in the state House seems to have wide bipartisan support. But if the House approves the bill, it appears it won’t go any farther.

A recent survey suggests that Michigan voters don't like a lot of what they see in the upcoming political season.
National Ave

Presidential candidates keep hopping on the bandwagon. ‘Tis the season, after all.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING   (AP) - Michigan Republicans are exploring whether to change the rules so their presidential candidate can net electoral votes without having to win the state's popular vote.

Legislation before the GOP-led Legislature would make Michigan the third - and by far the largest - state to move away from a winner-take-all system to one that allocates electoral votes proportionally. 

people in voting booths
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

In the final weeks of the campaign we heard poll results predicting a dead heat between Republican Gov. Rick Snyder and Democrat Mark Schauer.

In the end, it was Snyder over Schauer 51% to 47%.

How do pollsters view their track record? EPIC-MRA President Bernie Porn joined us on Stateside. 

He says the Republicans Governors Association blunted Schauer’s momentum going into the election, which may have given Gov. Snyder the edge needed to win re-election.

It wasn’t a total loss for the Democrats, Porn says, because they won the state board and education posts, which he believes indicates that the party base for the Democrats turned out.

He also attributes Gov. Snyder’s re-election to an appeal to independent voters; Snyder received 72% of the independent vote in this election.

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Gary Peters received 88% of the independent vote in this race, showing how crucial independents are.

*Listen to the interview with Bernie Porn above.

Cathleen Carrigan / Flickr

Michigan will send the same number of Democrats and Republicans to Washington.

The state will send nine Republicans and five Democrats to the U.S. House. New Congressional faces include Republicans David Trott, Mike Bishop and John Moolenaar. And Democrats Brenda Lawrence and Debbie Dingell.

Debbie Dingell discusses her goals and expectations as a new representative in the U.S. House.

Dingell is taking over the 12th District from her husband John Dingell, who will retire at the end of this term.

  Today on Stateside:

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There will be a lot to keep an eye on tomorrow, so our It’s Just Politics team of Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta are breaking down for us the five things to look for on Election Day.

1. How well Gov. Rick Snyder does in Detroit. Pluta equates the election, in part, to a referendum on the governor's Detroit rescue plan, the bankruptcy, and the path forward. Gov. Snyder is not expected to win in Detroit, which is heavily Democratic.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

With Election Day less than 24 hours away, candidates are out making their final push before voters hit the polls.

What will the State House and Senate look like after these midterm elections?

There are some tight races and the outcomes will determine what happens in statewide issues like taxes, school-funding, and fixing our roads. Kathy Gray from the Detroit Free Press Lansing Bureau is watching these races.

Gray notes some things to look for during the election Tuesday night, such as how Mark Schauer does.

Marijuana
USFWS

On Nov. 4, voters in 11 Michigan cities will consider legalizing small amounts of marijuana. That’s the largest number of municipalities to ever consider the question in a single election in the state. As Michigan Public Radio’s Jake Neher reports, marijuana advocates think they can win all of them.

Matt Radick / Flickr

  It’s been nearly two years since a lame-duck Legislature made Michigan the 24th right-to-work state. In response, 12,000 furious protesters flocked to the state Capitol, vowing Republicans would pay dearly at the next elections.

Nolan Finley, editorial page editor of the Detroit News, and Michigan Radio political analyst Jack Lessenberry joined Stateside to talk about the impact of right-to-work on the upcoming elections.

Ben+Sam / Flickr

How would things change if, instead of the political system we have now, we moved to a "top-two" primary? In other words, one primary in which the top two candidates, regardless of party, move on to the general election.

Paul deLespinasse is a professor emeritus of political science at Adrian College, and believes a big reason for gridlock in Congress and state legislatures in this country is our primary system. 

I woke up this morning thinking about the election 38 years ago, when Jimmy Carter narrowly defeated Michigan’s only president, Gerald Ford. That may sound a little bizarre, but before you call my psychiatrist, I was at the Ford Library just a few days ago.

And something that happened yesterday made me nostalgic for that long-ago time, for a very modern reason. I have intensely followed politics all my life, and remember that election as though it were yesterday.

The result was very close – the winner wasn’t known 'till almost four the next morning. There was sadness and some bitterness on the part of the losers the next day.

user Tobyotter / Flickr

Does a political candidate's weight affect his or her chances of getting elected? Or even getting on the ballot in the first place?

New research by a Michigan State University professor and his wife, a Hope College professor, indicate the answer is “yes.”

Mark Roehling is a human resources professor at MSU and he joined us today.

*Listen to the interview above.

Voting Booths
Flickr

The Pew Charitable Trusts' latest Elections Performance Index looked at all 50 states and the District of Columbia to measure how well they conducted their elections. Wait times at polling stations, problems with registration or absentee ballots, and voter turnout were just some of the things examined.

So how did Michigan do? We talked to Sean Greene, research manager for The Pew Charitable Trusts, to find out.

Listen to the full interview above.

Our voting system needs repair

Jan 29, 2014

This is an election year, and if you haven’t noticed, you'll soon be engulfed by an inescapable tidal wave of advertising that will make that clear. Last night’s State of the Union speech was, in one sense, a campaign platform.

So were all of the various Republican responses. We’ve seen precious little bipartisan cooperation in Washington or in Lansing these last few years, and unless the martians invade, you can probably count on even less this year.

But regardless of your politics, there is one area in which we need to cooperate to make changes. Not in for whom we vote, but in the mechanics of how we vote.

people in voting booths
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A higher number of Detroiters voted in Tuesday’s mayoral election than their New York City counterparts, according to research from Next City.

25.4% of Detroit’s registered voters filled out a ballot on Tuesday, with Democrat Mike Duggan winning the election. In New York City, 24% of voters showed up to the polls. Democrat Bill De Blasio is now NYC’s mayor-elect.

As Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek reported, the turnout in Detroit was higher than anticipated. "Detroit city clerk Janice Winfrey had projected that less than 25% of voters would participate."

While Detroit voters edged out New Yorkers Tuesday, Next City reports that the two cities were somewhere in the middle of the pack in terms of major city election turnouts:

"The 2012 Supreme Court campaign was the most expensive and least transparent in history."

Yikes. 

That's the unflattering takeaway from a new report from a consortium of groups like the Brennan Center for Justice and the Michigan Campaign Finance Network. 

Of the $19 million dollars poured into the state's Supreme Court races, $13 million went to ads like the following.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan House has voted to make candidates pay more to request a recount of ballots cast in an election.

Legislation approved 95-9 Thursday would increase to $25 the per-precinct deposit required to initiate a recount of votes in state or local elections. It now costs $10 per precinct.

Candidates would have to pay $125 per precinct if the election winner and loser are separated by more than 50 votes or a half-percentage point of votes cast, whichever is greater.

people in voting booths
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

On Tuesday, polls across Michigan will open for statewide local elections.

Voters in 56 of Michigan’s 83 counties will cast ballots.
Given the city’s recent bankruptcy declaration, all eyes will likely be on Detroit’s mayoral race results.

But as Michigan Radio’s Steve Carmody reported, counties across the states will face the usual suspects in the poll booths: school and library millages, ward elections, and filling city council seats.
How can you find out if there’s an election in your county? What’s on the ballot? And are you positive you're registered to vote?

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

Michigan's local election results

  • Dane Slater was re-elected Mayor of Troy. He was appointed after former Mayor Janice Daniels was recalled. Slater defeated primary opponent Marty Knollenberg.
  • Citizens in Benton Harbor voted overwhelmingly to raise property taxes to support city services. The city is running in the red. The millage represents about 20 percent of the city’s income.

State of disaster declared in Michigan

"Governor Rick Snyder has declared a state of disaster across much of Michigan due to storm- and flood-related damage last month. The proclamation makes state resources available to help the weather-stricken areas. The disaster proclamation covers the cities of Grand Rapids and Ionia in west Michigan, and 19 counties in the western Upper Peninsula, northern lower Michigan and southwest Michigan," Rick Pluta reports.

Benton Harbor City Hall front steps
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

People in Benton Harbor voted overwhelmingly to raise property taxes to support city services in Tuesday’s election.

That’s after voters rejected a similar set of proposals last November. The city is already running in the red and the millage represents around 20-percent of the city’s income.

“You just can’t see me dancing in the streets on the radio,” Mayor James Hightower said over the phone Tuesday night, “It’s a great day in Benton Harbor.”

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

No?

Well, dozens of Michigan counties and townships are holding special elections today. Most are focused on public school district proposals. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Here are some election highlights:

voting booths
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.

Debbie Dingell decides against 2014 US Senate run

Apr 20, 2013
Wayne State University

Democratic national committeewoman Debbie Dingell says she has decided not to run for the U.S. Senate seat that opened up with Carl Levin's impending retirement.

At the Republican National Convention.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

State House Republican leaders say they have no plans to scrap discussions about splitting Michigan’s Electoral College votes between congressional districts.         

Both Governor Rick Snyder and Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville have said they’re not on board with the idea. Snyder says it would be better to consider changes closer to the next census, when congressional lines are re-drawn.

But House Speaker Jase Bolger said there’s no reason to wait that long.

Office of Governor Rick Snyder / Wikimedia Commons

Two top Republicans in Lansing say they’re not on board with a plan to split Michigan’s Electoral College votes.

Lawmakers have been expecting a bill that would divide the state’s electoral votes by congressional district.

State Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville said that would make the state less important in presidential elections.

“At this point in time, I’m still sticking to my guns. I think the bigger package of votes for the winner brings more attention to the state and keeps us united. So I haven’t been convinced otherwise yet,” Richardville said.

Stateside: Dark money in campaign funding

Jan 10, 2013
Money
User: penywise / MorgueFile

There is an ongoing trend of furtive campaign funding in Michigan.

Rich Robinson, executive director of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, said voters should demand transparency from their elected officials and their funding.

Robinson called this undisclosed funding “dark money.”

And the two biggest sources of it are, according to Robinson, Michigan’s Democrat and Republican parties.

“My basic premise is that people don’t spend large amounts of money in politics for philanthropic motives. Essentially, they’re advancing their own interests in politics,” he said.

According to Robinson, citizens have a right to know where the money comes from.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Voters must declare they are qualified to vote before getting a ballot under a bill signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder.

The Republican governor signed legislation Friday containing that requirement and other election law changes.

Representatives for Snyder and Secretary of State Ruth Johnson say the leaders worked out concerns that led to his veto of similar legislation this summer. The new law doesn't include a citizen check-off box on ballot applications, which had been barred by a federal judge in the November election.

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