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MI Voting Rights Group: Make a Plan to Vote Next Week

Michigan does not allow split-ticket voting in the primary election.
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Michigan does not allow split-ticket voting in the primary election.

Next Tuesday is the primary election in Michigan, and groups such as the Voting Access for All Coalition are encouraging people to make a plan to vote.

Michigan has many options for how to vote: You can go in person on Election Day, or you can request an absentee ballot, and return it by mail or early in person at your local election clerk's office.

Charles Thomas, a retired postmaster and voting rights and criminal justice advocate for the Coalition, said a lot of organizations are doing work to cut through the misinformation and disinformation, so everyone is aware of their voting rights.

"I would definitely, definitely, definitely direct people to Vote411, so that they can become more knowledgeable voters," Thomas urged. "It'll take you directly to everything that's on your ballot, and you can really have a very full understanding of who it is that you're voting for before you cast your vote."

In Michigan, Republican and Democratic candidates are printed on the same ballot for the primary, and registered voters need to pick one side to fill out in order for it to count. If a voter accidentally splits the ticket by voting on both sides of the ballot, they can "spoil" it and fill out a new one.

E.B. Jordan, also with the Coalition, who founded a nonprofit for transitional housing for women coming out of prison, S&D PJ Housing, echoed the importance of getting educated about the candidates and their policies.

"If they're not for the people, you should make sure you know what they stand for," Jordan asserted. "And it's really important to do the local elections and get the right people in seats, and the ones that's really gonna help the returning citizens, the seniors, and the vets; they need a lot of help."

Kathi Harris, president of the Grand Rapids chapter of the A. Phillip Randolph Institute, who works with the Coalition, noted despite historically lower turnout rates in primaries compared with general elections, it is worth it to vote next week to decide what your options will be in November.

"I want our Michiganders to understand how important getting out to vote, how important this election is," Harris stressed. "We have to start with the primaries. And that's to get those on the ballot that we want to represent, regardless of their party, whoever we go for the primaries."

Originally from just outside Boston, Lily Bohlke is formerly from 2020Talks, a show tracking politics and elections, that started prior to the 2020 Iowa caucuses at KHOI in Ames. She's also a past intern for the Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism.
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