Should I Vote in the Primaries? A Michigan Quandary.

Ok, this might be a GQ… I’m going to come right out and say I don’t firmly grasp our political system, so the answer will entail some kind of explanation.

But basically, our primaries are January 15th, and I live in Michigan. According to my husband (for some reason I don’t fully grasp, but having to do with violating the rules of the National Democratic Party, I think) my preferred candidate (cough Obama cough) will not be on the ticket.

And, if I write him in, my vote won’t be counted.

And I guess the National Democratic Party is urging voters for Obama to vote ‘‘uncomitted,’’ but I’m having a hard time understanding how that will make the slightest bit of difference in the outcome.

So… is it worth it for me to haul my ass to the booths on January 15th? I’ve been a comitted voter since legal age; I’ve made it a point to vote, you know, for the principle of the thing.

So should I go, or what? Am I correct that it won’t make a difference either way? Can someone please explain to me what the hell is going on in Michigan?


Scoot on over, I’ll wait for enlightenment alongside ya. :wink:

A quick news search for “Michigan Primary” shows that sometime ago, the DNC determined that no states may hold their primaries before 5 February, except for Iowa, NH, SC, and…someone else. Can’t remember who.

Michigan, however, voted to hold its primaries on the 15th regardless. The DNC has stated that it will not seat delegates from Michigan if they insist on this date. As a result, Edwards, Obama, and Richardson have all pulled their names from the ballot. Clinton has not, but she has not campaigned in the state. If she “wins” Michigan by less than 50% of the ballot, she’ll still come out looking really bad (wins in quotes, 'cuz the delegates won’t be seated and as such, it won’t mean anything).

So it looks like if you want to vote against Clinton, go out and vote “Undecided” or “Kucinich.” If you just want to vote for Obama…don’t go.

Caveat lector: I’m not a citizen and am not quite up on the ins and outs of the whole primary system, so I might be missing something. But the above is what I found out from a couple of articles.

Thanks, Aguecheek. That was educational.

But why in the world did Michigan insist on holding the primary so early? That strikes me as ridiculously moronic. Is it as moronic as it sounds? What on earth could have been motivating us to do that?

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Michigan is taking it in the nuts right now. Both state parties thought that they could score some points with us if they got the campaign to focus on us and our problems. Combined with Florida going early too and the general feeling that NH and IA get all the good pickin’, it was decided that the primary should be bumped up. The hope was that having an earlier primary would bring some money into the state. But aside from a few Romney ads, I haven’t noticed.

Nevada’s primary is Jan. 19th. That’s the “other” state that Aguecheek was referring to, I think.

They, along with Florida, were attempting to get more input on who will be around in later primaries, since the common wisdom is that once the first 4 are done, it is all over but the shouting. They apparently didn’t believe the parties when they said that anyone that broke the rules would actually be punished for it. The Florida Democratic party has sued Howard Dean and the DNC attempting to get their delegates all seated, but the last I heard were still being turned down by the courts.

Aguecheek is right, if you want to vote against Clinton, vote for Undecided. (I wouldn’t vote for any of the other candidates. They should have pulled their names from the ballots also, IMHO.)

This is one of the reasons I like the idea of a day of primaries for all states. Pick a Tuesday in March, everyone has their primary/caucus/card cutting on that day. Unfortunately, I am not certain that is possible under the present constitution, since voting is under the individual states’ control.

:dubious: It seems to me that if it were truly in the state’s control, we would not be having any discussion of whether delegates would be seated. It actually seems to be the national parties that are (at least attempting to be) in control of this process.

I was under the impression you could write in a name on the Michigan ballot? No? [ETA: I see as of yesterday the official answer is no]

Also, isn’t it an open primary? You could vote the for Republican you like best. That vote will count.

Early primaries and caucus take place when more candidates are in the race, attract more attention, and (when not disowned by the national parties and by the candidates) induce candidates to spend money within a state and address the state’s problems while campaigning.

The presidential nominating process involves an interplay among state parties, national parties, and state legislatures. Only state legislatures can schedule primaries. State parties can schedule caucuses. National parties can ask that states hold primaries and caucuses within a certain time window, but cannot order them to do so, and can only refuse to seat their delegates at the convention (a remedy which brings problems of its own) if they refuse to comply.

Remember that political parties are essentially private organizations. They can’t control when the state legislature decides to schedule their primary, but they can control who they decide to recognize as delegates at their conventions. Nominating conventions used to be purely internal party affairs, until the progressive movement made primaries and caucuses more common in the early 20th century. At that point, the state governments stepped in to regulate the process the same way they regulated the general elections, but they’re not elections for public office, they’re elections for membership at these private club conventions which are free to ignore the results if they choose to do so.

Kucinich also attempted to withdraw his name, but he missed some deadline.

IMO, the whole thing is just obnoxious MI legislature hubris, just one more way these amateurs have cocked up things instead of doing their jobs properly.

Although I’m sorry to not be able to choose candidates in the normal way, I am glad that the parties and candidates reacted the way they did–it’s not like the Michigan legislature couldn’t have known that this would happen. They either didn’t do their homework, or they believed they could just bully their way around any consequences. Wrong.

Those were the same chuckleheads that took the entire legislative session to try to get a budget done, then needed an extra month.

I am voting for uncommitted on the Democratic side to send a rejection message to The Cackler. I don’t want to vote in the GOP side since that would probably get me on some mailing list. I resent having to tell the poll workers which party I want to vote for. This whole notion of registering to vote as a party member is completely alien to me, I don’t know why some states do that.

I agree, sort of. They started the fight but didn’t have the guts to finish it.

Since the state regulates who appears on the General Election ballot, they could have made the listing of a party’s candidate contingent on the party accepting the primary delegates from the state. That’s too big a stick for the national parties to ignore.

I don’t believe you have to register to vote as a party member. You didn’t used to, anyway. The only time I have had to “declare” as anything, officially, was when I worked at the poils. Otherwise my party affilation (if I have any) is no one’s business–not the local clerk’s, not the Secretary of State’s, not the election workers’.

You do have to ask for one ballot or the other, and I understand your objection to that. But you’re not necessarily “registered” as anything, and thus your party affiliation doesn’t have to “match” the ballot you asked for.

Yeah - its not like they make you present your ID to vote or anything.

Wait - they do now, don’t they? :smack:
But even so, you won’t get calls if you are on the “Do Not Call List”!

Oh yeah, they exempted themselves from that law. :smack:

You are so screwed…

I was speaking of other states making you declare a party when you register. Why that is done eludes me and of course Michigan does not do that. But this time, the parties are going to get their mitts on a database that tells them which voters chose which ballot. That’s what I object to. I don’t believe these private organizations should be privy to knowing which ballot you chose.

I don’t see a problem with a party knowing that you voted in their primary. A party has a right to know who’s choosing their candidates. I even don’t see a problem with a party knowing who you supported in the primary.

Others should not have access to who voted on which party’s ballot.

If all the states held their primaries on the same day it would eliminate the long process of getting to know the candidates and what’s more it would pretty much eliminate anyone who wasn’t at the top in terms of fundraising since almost the entire primary campaign would consist of buying TV ads. Someone like Huckabee would have absolutely no chance of getting anywhere in such a system. It’s doubtful Jimmy Carter could have emerged in such a system either. In the current system, money is still important but tiny states like NH give the voters plenty of chance to see the candidates live and to really measure them. John McCain had almost zero money, but he was able to win. If it had been a nation-wide primary he would have had to fold up and drop out.

The DNC just stripped the Michigan delegation of their block of hotel rooms reserved for the Dem convention this fall in Denver. They had 110 or so rooms in a hotel less than a mile from the Pepsi Center. If they want to stay together, they might have to commute from Albuquerque come August. It looks like they’re really getting hammered for this stunt.