GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan’s primary election is next week and while most of us think we are familiar with the process, this year may have a few surprises if you don’t do your homework.
Aug. 2 is the first election since redistricting that means new lines for the U.S. House of Representatives districts and all the Michigan House and Senate seats.
“I think there’s a lot of changes that voters are going to see in terms of the districts that they’re in. Obviously the census redistricting has changed a lot of things. It could change the incumbent candidate that you’re voting for and it will certainly change you district number,” Justin Roebuck, the Ottawa County clerk, said.
Even if you haven’t relocated, you may be in a new district for state House, state Senate or U.S. House.
Kent County Clerk Lisa Posthumus Lyons said to familiarize yourself with your ballot before you go to the polls.
“You have an opportunity to view your ballot (online) so you can prepare ahead of time before you go to your precinct on election day,” she said, referring to the Michigan Secretary of State’s website that will so you your polling place and sample ballot.
When you view that sample ballot, you will see a column for Democrats and a column for Republicans.
“One more really important thing for primary voters to know and be aware of when they cast their ballot is you have to stay in your lane,” Posthumus Lyons said. “This is a primary election where each party’s nominee is going to be selected, so unlike the November election, where a voter can cross over from a Republican to Democrat or a Democrat to Green Party candidate, that is not something you can do in primary election.”
If you do vote in both partisan columns, your ballot will be spoiled.
Regardless of which party primary you are voting in, you can vote in the nonpartisan section for millages and bonds.
Roebuck also had a reminder for all of those people who have already received an absentee ballot but have not yet returned it:
“If you‘ve got a, (absentee) ballot, make sure you get that ballot back to your clerk’s office soon,” he said. “In fact, I would recommend walking it right in, use the secure drop box at every one of (our) city and township hall locations in West Michigan, making sure you get that ballot back to your clerk quickly, but the sooner the better.”
Posthumus Lyons agreed, saying absentee ballots should be returned in person rather than mailed to ensure they arrive in time.
Votes must be back to your clerk when polls close Tuesday — an Aug. 2 postmark is not good enough to get a ballot counted.