Absentee voting in Tuesday’s primary surpasses 2012


Absentee voting continues to grow in Michigan elections, and Tuesday’s primary is expected to reinforce the trend of more voters casting ballots by mail well before Election Day.

As of Wednesday, municipal clerks across the state had distributed 579,908 absentee ballots, a 30 percent increase from the 444,759 ballots that were sent to voters on same date in 2012, according to data from the Secretary of State Ruth Johnson’s office.

About 327,445 of those ballots — or 56 percent — have already been returned to local clerks.

By comparison, on July 27, 2012 — the Friday before the Tuesday primary — about 49 percent of the 444,759 absentee voter ballots distributed had been returned, according to Johnson’s office.

Just over 1.5 million registered voters cast ballots in the August 2012 primary, with absentee ballots making up 14.5 percent of the votes. The 2012 primary featured a contested race to be the Republican U.S. Senate nominee and turnout was 20 percent of the 7.3 million registered voters.

Johnson’s office is not issuing a voter turnout projection for Tuesday’s primary, spokesman Fred Woodhams said.

NRA Endorsements

The National Rifle Association has weighed in on 18 primaries for state House seats in Tuesday’s election, largely offering its endorsements of incumbents.

But in the 104th District in Grand Traverse County, the gunowners’ rights group has endorsed former county commissioner and conservative activist Jason Gillman over first-term Republican Rep. Larry Inman.

The NRA gave Inman a “C” grade, the lowest of any Republican incumbent seeking re-election.

Gillman got an “Aq” grade, which means he got an A grade based on the NRA’s questionnaire.

The NRA did endorse two Democratic state representatives for re-election — John Kivela of Marquette and John Chirkun of Roseville. Both got “A” grades from the NRA based on their voting records in the House.

The NRA did not offer its endorsement of any candidate running in the heavily contested Republican primaries in the 1st and 10th congressional districts.

Family affair at convention

Michigan’s Democratic delegation has been busy at this week’s Philadelphia convention, approving the party’s platform and nominating former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as the first female presidential nominee.

But for several members of the delegation, this week’s convention also is a family affair with kids, spouses and grandchildren. Many say it’s a chance to let their children experience history first-hand with Clinton becoming the first female nominee of a major American political party.

Marge Robinson, a Clinton delegate from Southgate, decided at the last minute to bring her granddaughter Heidi.

“This is history-making for a 10-year-old girl,” Robinson said. “I think it’s important for her to be here to tell her children one day.”

Ingham County Prosecutor Gretchen Whitmer, who hosted Monday’s kickoff breakfast for the state’s delegation, brought her daughters Sydney and Sherry, 12 and 14. She said for the most part, her daughters don’t remember a time when Barack Obama wasn’t president.

“Sherry and Sydney don’t have an idea of the America I grew up in,” Whitmer said.

Contributors: Chad Livengood and Maureen Feighan