Political vote badge

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson today reminded voters of the upcoming presidential primary election Tuesday, March 10.  Many Republicans may be voting for Bernie Sanders.   Really?   Yes!  Read on.

Secretary Benson says there is no political party registration requirement and any Michigan registered voter can participate in the presidential primary. At the polling place and on the absentee ballot application, voters will be asked to select a presidential primary ballot for either the Democratic or Republican parties that also may contain local election items.

In Battle Creek, voters will decide on some city charter issues, including about how the mayor is elected, and also a measure that will take out specific gender references in the charter.

There's a lot of speculation that Republican voters may cross party lines in the Michigan Primary, since President Trump really doesn't have a credible opponent.   Some feel that GOP voters may choose to vote for the democrat with the most extreme left-wing views, feeling that that candidate won't do well against President Trump in the November general election. Traditionally, when primary voters are able to cross party lines to vote, very few actually do.

Voters who do not wish to participate in the presidential primary may request a ballot that contains only local ballot items.

Secretary Benson says citizens may register to vote up until 8 p.m. on Election Day. If a resident isn’t registered, or needs to update their address, they may do so by appearing in person at their city or township clerk’s office and providing proof of residency.

All voters can visit the Michigan Voter Information Center at Michigan.gov/Vote to check their registration status, find out how to register and be able to vote on March 10, view the candidates and questions that will be on their ballot, get a map to their polling place and other helpful information.

Polls are open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Anyone in line at 8 p.m. will be allowed to vote. Additional information regarding Michigan’s presidential primary can be found at Michigan.gov/Elections. Voter Assist Terminals will be available for voter with disabilities and any other voters who wish to use them.

Absentee ballots

As a result of the constitutional amendment passed by voters in 2018, all eligible and registered voters in Michigan may request an absent voter ballot without providing a reason. They can visit their local clerk’s office for an absent voter ballot application or download one at Michigan.gov/Vote.

Voter requests to have an absent voter ballot mailed to them must be received by their clerk no later than 5 p.m. the Friday before the election. If voters are already registered at their current address, they can request an absent voter ballot in person at their clerk’s office anytime up to 4 p.m. on the day prior to the election. If they’re registering to vote or updating their address by appearing at their clerk’s office on Election Day, they can request an absent voter ballot at the same time they register. If they request their AV ballot the day before the election or on Election Day, they must vote the ballot in the clerk's office.

Voters can also check with their clerk regarding the availability of a permanent absent voter list in their jurisdiction. If their clerk offers the service, voters can have an absent ballot application automatically mailed to them in advance of any future elections.

Candidates listed on the ballot

Although some of the presidential primary candidates have suspended their campaigns nationally, state law required the candidate listing to be finalized in December 2019. To have their name removed from the ballot, candidates had to submit a formal request in writing to withdraw their name to the Bureau of Elections by December 13. Therefore, the presidential primary ballots list some candidates who have since left the race.

If a voter wishes to spoil an absentee ballot they have already voted, they can submit a written request to their local clerk by mail if it is received by 2 p.m. the Saturday before the election. The voter must sign the request and state if they would like a new absentee ballot mailed to them or if they will vote at the polls. An absentee ballot may be spoiled in person at the clerk’s office until 4 p.m. the Monday prior to the election. The voter can obtain a new absentee ballot there or vote at the polls. There is no option on Election Day to spoil an absentee ballot that has been received by the clerk.

Photo ID and photography

Voters will be asked to present photo ID at the polls, such as a Michigan driver’s license or identification card. Anyone who does not have an acceptable form of photo ID or failed to bring it with them can still vote. If the voter does not have a photo ID, the voter may sign a brief affidavit attesting to their identity. Their ballots will be included with all others and counted on Election Day.

If a voter wishes to take a photo of their marked or unmarked ballot in the voting booth, they may do so, but images of a voted ballot may not be shared within 100 feet of a polling place. Any other type of photography within the area where people are voting is prohibited. Selfies are only allowed outside the polling place.

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