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In The Public Interest: The Importance Of Voter Participation In Primary Elections

Jul 2, 2018

Credit League of Women Voters of the Ann Arbor Area

This week on our bi-weekly conversation with the League of Women Voters of the Ann Arbor Area, 89.1 WEMU's Lisa Barry is joined by league member Paige Nong to talk about raising awareness and participation in the upcoming primary election on August 7th.


Michigan has a primary on Tuesday, August 7. This year, the state has hotly contested primaries for the Democratic and Republican candidates for governor because incumbent Govenor Snyder is term-limited.

In several congressional districts, there are also contested primaries.  There are also contested races at the county and municipal levels, as well as millage proposals for specific communities.

The deadline to register to vote for the primary is Monday, July 9th.

Paige Nong from the League of Women Voters of the Ann Arbor Area.
Credit Lisa Barry

Nong says voting in the primary is especially important because, depending on the district, the opposition to a party’s candidate can be minimal.  In these situations, the winner in August is the winner in November.

The League is hosting candidate forums to provide important information for voters before the primary.  We had one for Ypsi City Council on June 26.  Ann Arbor forums are available on demand via CTN TV.

Another resource is the Washtenaw County Register of Deeds website.

The League of Women Voters is working to help the community engage with democracy through two methods: direct registration assistance and education.

Nong says they are working with Nation Outside to spread awareness that people with felony convictions are eligible to vote in Michigan as soon as they have been released.  According to Nation Outside, the vast majority of former felons believe they cannot vote, so the League is working to spread awareness that even if someone is on probation or parole they are still eligible to vote in Michigan.

Nong also talks about their efforts to help register voters who do not have a traditional address.  The League is holding registration events with community partners to help increase people's access.  She says they are working with Delonis Center in Ann Arbor to answer people’s questions and help them complete their forms and give them information about what they will need to bring on Election Day.

Nong says they are also helping people register at West Willow Community Center, Dawn Farm, SOS Community Center, etc.  She says the details can be complicated, and they want to provide everyone with the help and information they want.

Nong also talks about how voters can find their polling place.  One of the easiest ways is to go to the Secretary of State's website to check your registration status, find your polling place, and look at a sample ballot.

The website also gives step-by-step directions on the different ways to register to vote and the eligibility requirements.  If people have moved since they last registered, they can re-register, which automatically update their address with the Secretary of State.  They will receive a driver’s license sticker in the mail.

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— Lisa Barry is the host of All Things Considered on WEMU. You can contact Lisa at 734.487.3363, on Twitter @LisaWEMU, or email her at lbarryma@emich.edu