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  • Writer's pictureLiberal Leadership League

What’s an open state primary election?

In the Michigan August 2, 2022 Primary Election, voters must choose either the Democratic Party Section (the first column) or the Republican Party Section (second column). The party you choose is a private matter.

Unlike some other states, Michigan voters do not declare a party in an open primary. Your party choice is not public. However, it is a public record that you voted. People could check the public record to see if you voted, but they cannot know which political party you selected.

There are pluses and minuses to an open primary. Some say it dilutes both parties’ ability to nominate. Others say this system gives voters maximum flexibility – allowing you to vote for whichever party you choose while maintaining privacy. With both parties' information on one ballot, it does open up the possibility of spoiling the ballot by crossing over party lines.

Open primary voters must “Stay In Their Lane”. Either vote for the Democratic candidates or the Republican candidates, but you must not vote for some Democrats and some Republicans. The ballot has two partisan sections. All Democratic candidates, including precinct delegates, are listed in the first column or ‘lane’. It’s called ‘Partisan Section: Democratic Party Section’. All Republican candidates are listed separately in the second column or ‘lane’. Selecting a candidate from both the Democratic section and the Republican section will cause your votes to be rejected. This is known as ‘split ticket voting’. It is allowed in the general election, but not in an open primary! In an open primary, it is a bad thing.

In Michigan’s open primary election on August 2, 2022, voting for some Democrats and some Republicans, will ‘spoil’ the partisan section of your ballot.

Finally, the nonpartisan or proposal section lists candidates without party affiliation and may include proposals. Voters should remember to complete the nonpartisan section. You can vote for whoever you choose in the nonpartisan section. Check with your local Democratic club for recommendations of nonpartisan candidates who support your values.

To make sure your vote is counted, Stay In Your Lane. Keep to the left to vote Democratic and remember to turn the ballot over.

The winners of the Primary Election will face off (Democratic versus Republican) in the General Election in November.

Voting is going on now. In 2018 and 2020, Democrats voted in huge numbers and won. In 2022, your right to vote is your superpower. Let’s join together, mobilize, and show Americans that Michiganders are paying attention.


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