Prepare before heading to the polls

Learn more about the Michigan General Election ballot and what to expect to see on it before you head to the polls.

The November 2012 election is a very important one in Michigan, where votes ranging from President to local mileages will be cast. According to some sources, Michigan voters will be faced with the longest ballot in the nation this year, and one of the largest ballots in the state’s history.

Voters in Michigan can go to the Secretary of State’s Michigan Voter Information Center to view a sample ballot, see if they are registered, view their voting district information, check their polling location, and more.

Voter should be aware that their ballot will be divided into three sections:

Partisan section
This is the only section where candidates must identify themselves by political party. Voters may vote “straight ticket” for this section, or split the ticket and vote for candidates of different parties.

The partisan section will be sub-divided into these sections:

  • Presidential
  • Congressional
  • State Legislature
  • State Boards (including the State Board of Education and the three state research university boards: Wayne State, University of Michigan and Michigan State University)
  • County
  • City or township, in some cases

Nonpartisan section
This is the section of the ballot where candidates are not listed by political party. A person cannot vote straight ticket in this section.

This section of the ballot will include the subsections of:

  • Judicial (Candidates for the State Supreme Court, circuit court, court of appeals, and district courts)
  • School boards, including community colleges and local school district.

Proposal section
This section contains the six statewide ballot proposals, as well as any county or city/township proposals or millages.

Current, non-partisan summaries as well as more in-depth analyses of this year’s six statewide ballot proposals can be found on the Citizens Research Council of Michigan site. Michigan State University (MSU) Extension will be releasing a fact sheet in Mid-October, providing an objective overview of the six proposals. Check the MSU Extension news site in a few weeks for a link to the fact sheet. For an overview of the proposals available now, see the article “November ballot issues could mean changes for Michigan residents.”

The range of the issues and offices that will decided this year suggest that Michigan citizens should spend some time preparing before they head to the polls.

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