Michigan’s Super Tuesday

Local voters to head to polls Tuesday for primary election

MANISTEE — Manistee County Clerk Jill Nowak reminds local voters that on Tuesday, they will have the opportunity to cast a ballot in the 2012 Presidential Primary Election.

Manistee County Clerk Jill Nowak (left) goes over the 2012 Presidential Primary ballots with Deputy Clerk Lindsey Marquardt in preparation for the Tuesday, Nov. 28 election. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. on election day at the regular general election precincts.

Nowak also pointed out that people will find some differences from their normal voting procedure when they arrive at the polls to vote since presidential primary elections have unique requirements compared to general elections.

“Tuesday’s primary is a closed primary, where you have to pick a (political) party to vote,” said Nowak. “The application to vote will be a little different when you come in to vote because you will have to pick either the Democratic or Republican ballot to vote.”

Nowak pointed out that people need to do that because in 2011 the Michigan Legislature passed Public Act 163 that sets down mandates for the 2012 presidential primary making it a closed primary. One of those mandates is voters must indicate in writing on that application form which party they would like to vote. When they make that declaration, they will only be issued that party’s ballot.

If the Michigan primary was considered an open primary, they will be issued both ballots, but could only vote on one of them. Nowak added that people do not need to be a registered member of a particular political party to vote for that party on Tuesday.

“The laws changed years ago where people have to actually prove that they are a member of that particular party,” said Nowak.

The clerk said even though the Presidential Primary will be closed, that will not be the case when the Aug. 7 primary arrives to determine the candidates for the state, local and national offices other than president. Voters will not be asked to select a party before voting in August. They will be able to determine that in the privacy of their voting station, and they are not required to vote for the same party that they did in the presidential primary.

Nowak said people should be aware that under the law a list is available to the public that includes the presidential primary ballot type chosen by each voter. That information is just the party that was selected, and has nothing to do with the candidate that was selected by the voter.

“It is marked on the qualified voter file and retained for 22 months, as this is public information,” said Nowak.

Voters casting a ballot in the March 28 Presidential primary are reminded that the polls will be open regular election day hours from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. All the normal general election precincts (see sidebar story) will be open on that day. Absent voter ballots will also be available for the election.

“Electors who wish to receive an absent voter ballot by mail must submit a request by Feb. 25, at 2 p.m.,” said Nowak. “Electors qualified to obtain an absent ballot may vote in person in the clerk’s office up until Feb. 27 at 4 p.m. and there is emergency absent voting for presidential primary up to 4 p.m. on Feb. 28, 2012. People would have to come in and vote at the clerk’s office.”

Voters are reminded that they must still show a picture identification when they arrive at the polls. That would preferably be a driver’s license or personal identification card. They may also use a photo identification card from the military, student identification or tribal identification card. If a photo card is not available a voter can sign an affidavit saying that they don’t have a photo identification and they will still be allowed to vote.

Nowak pointed out that voters casting a Republican ballot may notice the names of some candidates that have already withdrawn from the race. The reason for that is candidates applied in November 2011 to get their name on the ballot, and had until Dec. 9 to withdraw their names. Many left the race after that time.

“The Republican ballot will have the names of Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Michele Bachman, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Gary Johnson, Fred Karger, Ron Paul, Rick Perry and Buddy Roemer on it,” said Nowak. “There also will be a spot that says uncommitted and that is just if you want to show you are a party person and don’t want to show who you are going to vote for and are uncommitted.”

The only name on the Democratic side of the ballot is Barack Obama, but there also will be a spot for uncommitted.

Voters in several Manistee Townships who live in the Benzie County School District will also be considering a bond proposal on Tuesday. This is for residents in Pleasanton, Springdale, Cleon and Marilla townships that are part of the Benzie School District.

They will be asked to consider a request by the district to borrow $1,985,000 for the issuance of tax bonds for the purpose of acquiring and installing educational technology improvements and purchasing of school buses. The estimated millage to be levied is .25 mills.

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Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

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