Reminder: Don’t switch parties on primary ballot


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — When you head to the polls Tuesday, you’ll have to remember that you can participate in only one party’s primary.

“We voters nominate a candidate for each party to be placed on the November general election ballot,” Kent County Clerk Lisa Posthumus Lyons explained about the primary.  

Your ballot will include sections for the Republican, Democratic and Libertarian races, but you can only cast votes in one of those columns.

“In primary elections, you cannot split your ticket between or among different candidates or different parties. You have to pick a Republican, the Democrat or Libertarian and stick with it,” Posthumus Lyons emphasized.

If you cross-party vote, new voting machines will tell you and give you the opportunity to revote or continue with the ballot as is. If you choose the latter, your votes won’t count.

That only applies to the partisan races. Some voters will also have nonpartisan positions, like judgeships, or nonpartisan proposals on their ballot.

“Everybody can obviously select in the nonpartisan section the and the proposal section,” Posthumus Lyons said.

That’s true no matter which party’s primary you vote in.

You can look up your sample ballot and confirm your polling location on the Michigan Secretary of State’s website. Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.

When you look at your ballot, remember:

  • Vote only in one party’s primary.
  • Do not switch columns.
  • Look for other nonpartisan issues, including on the back of your ballot. You can vote for nonpartisan issues regardless of which primary you voted in.

Regardless of which party’s primary you participate in, remember to get out and vote. In Michigan’s gubernatorial-year primaries dating back to 1990, the average turnout is just more than 19 percent.

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