Uncategorized — January 9, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Michigan Presidential Primary Follies


The following is a guest post by Mark Miller, chair of the 6th District Democrats and Kalamazoo Township Trustee. It first appeared at Blogging for Michigan and contains useful information for ALL Michigan Democrats.

Across Michigan, absentee ballot applications for the Feb. 28 Presidential Primary are even now being received by many permanent absentee voters, and some of them, if they are Democrats, are scratching their heads and wondering why they heard something about a party caucus in May, and what the connection is, if any. We are already receiving calls at our County Party headquarters about this.

Many more Democratic voters, of course, have heard nothing about a caucus and are simply planning to vote in the Feb. primary. Their votes will count for nothing on the Democratic side. How could such a messed-up situation come about? And what can we do about it?

The Michigan Democratic Party had decided on a state-wide caucus, to be held on the morning of May 5, long before the Republicans in the state legislature figured out what they were going to do. This caucus will determine the presidential preference of (Congressional District-allocated) Michigan delegates to the 2012 Democratic National Convention. This plan was approved by the DNC, and it is the way we will be doing it. You can pretty much figure that all delegates will be going to Pres. Obama.

Some time later, the Republican legislature decided (PA 163) to hold a Presidential Primary. But because this would involve spending some $10 million of state taxpayers’ money, they thought it would be better to ‘spread the blame’ for this expenditure by including the Democrats — even though MDP did not want to be included, is not participating, and will not use the results to allocate delegates.

The legislation included a provision that Secretary of State Ruth Johnson would include on the ballot any candidates who were being talked about in the media — and that a person could be removed from the ballot only by stating that they were not a candidate for President. Since Pres. Obama is obviously not going to say that, he will be on the primary ballot.

Another part of this sweet deal is that the list of who chooses which ballot will be made public. So you can expect more fund-raising letters, unless (like me) you are already on every conceivable progressive list. This has already spurred public outrage, with a letter in tonight’s Kalamazoo Gazette.

So it is up to us, the activists, bloggers, etc., to spread the word that if you want to participate in re-nominating Pres. Obama, do NOT vote in the Feb. 28 primary. Instead, wait for the May 5 caucus, and keep your eyes open for where to go to vote on May 5. There will be at least one caucus site in every county; more populous counties will have multiple sites. Each county party organization will publicize a list of where to vote, depending on where you live within the county. I will include in a follow-up article at Blogging for Michigan a link to a list of caucus sites when it is available.

[NOTE: An update to this post is HERE.]