Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Michigan's Aug. 4 primary election: What's on the ballot?

July 22, 2020
<p>Voting ballot illustration by Hope Ann Flores.</p>

Voting ballot illustration by Hope Ann Flores.

Photo by Hope Ann Flores | The State News

Ahead of the Nov. 3 general election, Michigan voters will be able to head to the polls — or mail in their ballot — for the state primary election Tuesday, Aug. 4. 

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

How to vote

According to City Clerk Jennifer Shuster, the state of Michigan is requiring that all voting precincts be open for the state primary election. 

“The polling locations will operate with social distancing guidelines and required use of PPE for election inspectors,” Shuster said via email. 

Masks are not required for voters in polling places, per an executive order from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, though they are still strongly encouraged.

There are options for voters who do not want to go to an in-person precinct. All Michigan voters are allowed to vote absentee without a reason, Shuster said. 

Absentee ballots, or by-mail voting, allow people to vote without leaving their homes. All registered voters were mailed an absentee ballot application for both the primary and general elections.

An absentee voter ballot must be completed and returned to the clerk’s office by 8 p.m. on Election Day. A ballot will not be counted unless the voter’s signature is on the return envelope and matches their signature on file.

Voters can apply for an absentee ballot here. Applications to have an absent voter ballot mailed to you must be received by your clerk no later than 5 p.m. the Friday before the election, according to Michigan’s Secretary of State website

Absentee ballot requests are up 350% compared to the same time ahead of the 2016 state primary, according to the Secretary of State website. While 378,317 absent voter applications were returned 35 days before the primary in 2016, 1,323,922 applications have been returned in that same time in 2020.

In 2016, 283,731 absent voter ballots were issued, and 17,590 were returned. This year, however, saw major increases in these numbers, as 1,005,989 ballots were issued, and 29,760 have been returned.

“This significant increase in those requesting to vote by mail already this year confirms they recognize that this option is a safe, secure and convenient way for them to ensure their voices are heard, even in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic,” Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said, according to the Secretary of State website.

Those who are not registered to vote may still register through Election Day. However, if you wait until the two-week period before an election to register, you must do so at your city clerk’s office. You must also provide proof of residency, Shuster said. 

Any item with a person's name and residence address is considered proof of residency. Acceptable items to establish residency include utility or credit card bills issued within the prior 90 days, a bank account statement, school transcripts less than two years old, lease or rental agreements with a landlord's number, a pay stub, insurance policies and government documents.

Shuster said it is easier to register to vote online before the two-week mark. More information about registering to vote, including a program to register, can be found here.

She also stressed the importance of keeping voter registration information up-to-date, which can also be done online. 

It is possible to register to vote and apply for an absentee ballot at the same time.

What’s on the ballot

East Lansing voters will be voting for partisan offices for U.S. senators down to county commissioners and precinct delegates, Shuster said. 

Incumbent Democrat U.S. Sen. Gary Peters is running unopposed in the primary, as is Republican John James, who ran against U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow in 2018.

On Tuesday, Peters wrote on Twitter he was looking forward to upcoming debates with James after being challenged to four ahead of the Nov. 3 general election.

Incumbent U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Lansing, is running unopposed in her party for the 8th U.S. House District, but will face off in the general against one of four Republican candidates.

Slotkin’s platform includes affordable healthcare and prescription drugs, investing in infrastructure and education and strengthening national security. She is pro-choice and pro-veteran.

Mike Detmer is running on a platform advocating the codification of federal policy to buy American goods and hire American workers, tax cuts and reformation in the healthcare system to lower costs, provide more choice and include mental healthcare. He also seeks to end "catch and release" and chain migration, and intends to allocate funding for a border wall. Detmer is pro-Second Amendment, pro-life, pro-veteran and pro-term limits.

Alan T. Hoover's platform includes the reduction of government reach into households and the establishment of ethical data collection standards. Hoover also wants to secure the borders, preserve the Constitution and make improvements for veterans and their families. Hoover is also pro-Second Amendment, pro-life and pro-term limits.

Paul Junge intends to oppose tax increases, stop "costly liberal regulations" and cut wasteful spending to promote a more balanced budget. He supports the banning of sanctuary cities and the securing of the U.S. border to stop illegal immigration, and seeks to protect work-related healthcare and Medicare for seniors. Junge is pro-Second Amendment and pro-life.

Kristina Lyke's platform includes the covering of pre-existing conditions and treatment for mental health and addiction. She seeks to secure borders and modernize immigration, and to hold China accountable for "commercial terrorism." She also intends to protect free speech and freedom of religion, in addition to protecting workers and rebuilding infrastructure. Lyke is pro-Second Amendment, pro-life and pro-veteran.

For the Ingham County Clerk seat, incumbent Democrat Barb Byrum is facing a Democrat primary opponent.

According to the Lansing State Journal, Byrum said she will reconcile budgetary impacts onset by the COVID-19 pandemic and modernize and make better use of technology in the Clerk’s Office to allow customers the ability to make remote transactions if she is reelected.

Her challenger, DeKeea Quinney-Davis, said she will ensure all Ingham County residents are aware of the services the county has to offer, facilitate inclusion in civil engagement with traditionally marginalized groups and increase accessibility to services, according to the Lansing State Journal.

The Michigan Voter Information Center's online tool shows statewide sample ballots by precinct. Here's what a sample ballot in East Lansing will look like.

screenshot-2020-07-20-09-51-41
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Ingham County voters will have two county-wide ballot proposals, while Clinton County voters in Precinct 17 do not have any proposals on their ballots.

The first proposal for Ingham County residents concerns an elder person's millage seeking to authorize funding to eliminate wait lists and expand services such as in-home care, meals on wheels and crisis services.

The millage seeks to increase the limitation upon the total amount of taxes that may be assessed in one year upon all property in Ingham County by up to $0.30 per $1,000 of state taxable valuation for a period of four years.

The second ballot proposal for Ingham County residents seeks to renew funding for a comprehensive, countywide 911 Emergency Telephone and Dispatch System at the same millage level approved every four years since 1996. 

This emergency telephone service millage renewal intends to maintain the $0.85 per $1,000 of taxable value limitation for a period of 10 years, concluding in 2029.

Voters in the city of Lansing may vote on a proposed renewal of a $1.00 per $1,000 levy for five years, commencing on July 1, 2021, on all taxable real and personal property in the city for the purpose of operating, maintaining and providing improvements to its parks and recreation system. 

Leslie Township voters may vote on the millage renewal proposal for fire protection, which seeks to renew the $0.08895 per $1,000 of taxable value levy from 2021 through 2024. 

Additionally, there is a bond proposal for Leslie Public Schools that seeks to borrow up to $13,090,000 for additions to school buildings and entryways, the remodeling and re-equipping of school buildings, acquiring and installing technology and security and improving sites such as sidewalks and the high school track. 

Two ballot questions concern the Northeast Ingham Emergency Service Authority tax.

The first addresses a tax set to expire December 2032, and seeks to replace the 1.2467 mills tax with one up to 2.00 mills ($2.00 per $1,000 of taxable value) and levied for eight years, through 2028 inclusive, for funding emergency services.

The second question, concerning a tax set to expire December 2020, seeks to increase the 0.7454 mills tax up to 1.0 mills ($1.00 per $1,000 of taxable value) and levy it for eight years, through 2028 inclusive, for building improvements and equipment. 

Further details about Ingham County ballot proposals for the state primary election can be found here.

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