Quick facts about the March 8 presidential primary election

Published 10:33 am Monday, February 29, 2016

In a couple weeks, voters across Michigan will become the latest group of Americans to help decide the candidates in November’s presidential election.

On Tuesday, March 8, people will have the opportunity to vote for which presidential candidates they want to represent the Democratic and Republican political parties in the election later this year. Voters in some communities, such as those living in the city of Dowagiac, will also have ballot proposals to decide at the election as well.

In contrast to general elections, presidential primary elections in Michigan function very differently in terms of ballot selection and procedures that can throw voters off if they are unfamiliar with them.

Here are a few quick facts for voters to know before they go cast their vote March 8:

• Voting in the presidential primary is open to any registered Michigan voter.

• You can only cast a ballot for one particular party — you indicate which party ballot you wish to vote, in writing, while filling out the voter application form at the polling location.

• You do not have to be a registered member of whichever political party you choose to pick a presidential nominee for.

• Whichever party ballot you choose at the election is considered public information, contained on a statewide record of ballot selections that is retained by the state for around two years before it is destroyed. Whichever candidate you vote for will NOT be made public.

• You do not have to choose the same party ballot as you did in previous elections, nor will have to in future elections.

• If you do not wish to vote on a presidential nominee but still wish to vote on a particular ballot issue, you can request to get a non-partisan ballot that contains only propositions at the polling location.

As with general and other primary elections, you must present your driver’s license or other form of photo ID (eg U.S. Passport, student ID card, tribal ID card) at the polling location. If you lack any form of identification you can sign an affidavit as well.

The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. To find out your polling location and what will be on your particular ballot, you can use the Secretary of State’s Michigan Voter Information Center online at https://webapps.sos.state.mi.us/MVIC/.


Opinions expressed are those of the editorial board consisting of Publisher Michael Caldwell and editors Ambrosia Neldon, Craig Haupert, Ted Yoakum and Scott Novak.