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Presidential Primary in Michigan on March 10 is a closed primary

Annette Sturdy, city clerk for the city of St. Clair.
Annette Sturdy, city clerk for the city of St. Clair.

By Jim Bloch

The Presidential Primary Election in Michigan is Tuesday, March 10. Polls will be open across the state at 7 a.m.-8 p.m.

“It is a closed primary,” said St. Clair city clerk Annette Sturdy, addressing voters at the regular meeting of the city council Jan. 20.

That means participating voters must choose to vote in either the Democratic or Republican primary. If voters reside in a community with other local issues at stake, they may request a no-primary ballot and vote just the local issues.

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Michigan does not require voters to register for a political party, so any voter may register in either party or opt entirely out of the primary.

“Absentee voter ballots are now available,” said Sturdy. “What that means is that you can receive your ballot before the election and vote it at your leisure as long as you return it by 8 p.m. on election day. As it is a closed primary, you do have to choose your ballot type per election law. For the city of St. Clair, there are three different ballot types to choose from because there is a school bond proposal on the ballot as well.”

In St. Clair and the rest of the East China School District, voters will be asked to approve a 1.5 mill tax for a number of capital projects.

There are no additional issues on the ballots in Marysville or Port Huron.

“You have to choose 1) the Republican candidates along with the school bond; 2) the Democratic candidates with the school bond; or 3) you do have the option to choose the ballot with just the school bond only on it,” Sturdy said.

Michigan election law requires voters to choose a party in the Presidential primary in writing.

“If we receive an absentee voter application without the (type of) ballot marked, we cannot send you a ballot and we cannot call you and ask you what ballot type you want and get the answer over the phone,” Sturdy said. “You need to come back in in-person and fill it in in writing. We can’t take verbal answers to that question. So if you do receive an absent voter application, be sure you complete it entirely, choosing your ballot.”

Voters will receive a ballot listing only the candidates of the party they selected. The state finalized the lists Dec. 13. Fifteen Democrats will appear on the ballot, including a number who have dropped out of the race, such as Cory Booker and Julian Castro. The Republican candidates include Donald Trump, Mark Sanford, Joe Walsh and Bill Weld.

The party choice of voters, but not their specific vote, will remain public information for 22 months after the election.

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