Michigan holds state-wide primary elections Tuesday

Monday, March 7, 2016 - 11:13am

Michigan will hold statewide primary elections Tuesday for both the Democratic and Republican parties, alongside Hawaii, Idaho and Mississippi.

Polling stations at the University of Michigan will be set up in the Michigan Union, the Michigan League and Pierpont Commons. There are also multiple off-campus locations throughout the city. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and abide by an open primary system, meaning voters don’t have to be registered with a party to vote in its primary.

On the Democratic side, only Mississippi holds its primary at the same as Michigan, meaning 166 delegates are available in the Democratic race Tuesday. Of those, 130 delegates come from the state of Michigan, making it the more impactful of the two primaries.

Hillary Clinton currently holds the lead in the delegate count with 1,130 delegates, including superdelegates, and Sen. Bernie Sanders (D–Vt.) follows with 499 delegates despite seeing recent victories in Maine, Kansas and Nebraska over the past two days. A total of 2,383 delegates are needed to win the nomination.

Josh Pasek, a professor in the Department of Communication Studies, said following Tuesday’s primary, most of the remaining delegates will come from more moderate and diverse states where Sanders has not done as well in the past because most of his success comes from white, young liberals.

Michigan’s primary, he noted, will determine if Sanders can do well in these types of states and if he still has a competitive chance at the nomination.

“Given that dynamic, Bernie needs to come relatively close to winning, if not to win, to show that he can really show that he can take a state that isn’t the kind of state that he has been winning so far,” he said.

Clinton is expected to win the Michigan primary – an aggregate of polls from Real Clear Politics shows she has a 20.4 percent lead over Sanders. Both Clinton and Sanders held rallies in Michigan on Monday: Sanders on campus at the Crisler Center and Clinton in Detroit.

In the Republican primary, Donald Trump leads in Michigan’s primary with support from 41 percent of likely primary voters, trailed by Cruz at 22 percent, Rubio at 17 percent and Kasich at 13 percent, based on a recent NBC News/WSJ/Marist Poll.

Idaho, Michigan and Mississippi all hold Republican primaries Tuesday, and Hawaii will hold a Republican caucus, or a meeting where registered members of a political party vote for their preferred party candidate. Of the 150 delegates, 59 belong to Michigan, making it the largest win for the candidates.  

Pasek said he believes Trump will likely win in the Michigan primary, but also said the more impactful result will be how the remaining three candidates perform.

“Trump is going to win by a pretty decent margin,” he said. “The really interesting question is: Is the Republican party going to be able to figure out who is going to be its anti-Trump candidate?”

The Michigan primary comes after presidential debates in the state — two Republican in Detroit and one Democratic in Flint last Thursday and Sunday, respectively. While the Republican debate’s focus stayed national, the Democratic debate spent considerable time discussing Michigan-centric issues, including the Flint water crisis and Detroit Public Schools’ crumbling infrastructure.

LSA sophomore Taiwo Dosunmu, communications director for College Democrats, said since the beginning of the year, College Democrats has been encouraging students to vote by hosting voter registration booths where they have helped several hundred students register.

Dosunmu added that while the group does not endorse any particular candidate, its main goal is to encourage students to vote.

“Our main goal is to have turnout be as high as possible," he said. "On a college campus turnout is essential. When students vote Democrats are able to win.”