Election 2024: Peninsula Township August Primary Ballot
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(Editor’s Note: Ann Swaney, a longtime Old Mission Peninsula resident who’s on the board of the Grand Traverse Area League of Women Voters and has worked several Peninsula Township elections, has some important notes about the upcoming August Primary and absentee ballots. Thanks so much for this crucial info, Ann. -jb)

For voters currently working on their absentee ballots and for those planning to vote in person, either during the nine days of early voting or on Election Day, there are a couple of things to keep in mind to make sure your ballot selections are eligible to be counted.

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The August election is a partisan primary, which means voters can vote in only one of the two partisan (Democratic or Republican) sections on the ballot — they cannot cross over and vote both, which is called “splitting their ticket.”

If a voter splits their ticket by voting for candidates in both parties, the partisan sections of the ballot will be spoiled and will not be counted. However, all voters can vote in the proposal section (for the library and TCAPS millages) no matter which party they vote in for the partisan sections.

Those who vote in person in either the nine days of early voting or on Election Day and do not understand the partisan section rules are at an advantage because the tabulator — the machine each individual ballot is fed into that counts the votes — will tell you that you’ve spoiled your ballot and ask if you want to redo it or count it as is.

As convenient as voting absentee is, the downside is that on Election Day, when the Absentee Voter Counting Board tabulates the ballots, the opportunity to make a correction if one is needed does not exist. If you’ve accidentally split your ticket, your partisan votes will simply not count.

The only chance to remedy an error would be before Election Day, when you can ask your clerk to spoil your previous absentee ballot and issue you a new one.

My other tip for this election is that it doesn’t matter if you are registered in one party but decide to vote for a candidate in the section particular to another party — as long as you stick with that party throughout the ballot.

For instance, if you have a particular candidate in mind who you think might be a better choice for our community but they are running as a candidate for a party with which you’re not affiliated, you may still select them and others on that same partisan section of the ballot as long as you do not cross back over to your registered party’s section.

This is your constitutional right in a primary, which is a nominating election: we are nominating who we want on the November ballot, not electing them. November is when we elect them.

In addition, please be assured that no one, including the election inspectors and the individuals in the clerk’s office, keeps track of who votes for whom. There is no way to do this.

In addition, it is only in the Presidential Primary that you have to pre-select which party you want to participate in, Democratic or Republican. Beyond that choice, your specific vote is secret.

The important thing is that you exercise your right to vote and choose the candidates of your choice but also, in the August primary, that you “stay in the lane you’ve chosen” so that your votes count.

(Editor’s Note: To view the ballot for your precinct, click here. Check out Peninsula Township candidates here. Also, Ann notes that for the November election, you can split your votes between parties, as long as you don’t vote for more than the number of slots available, as in the case of Township Trustees, for example. -jb)

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