Throwing a Wrench into the Michigan Primary Machine

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Supporters carry signs for Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum as he speaks during a Tea Party rally in Columbus, Ohio. (Jay LaPrete/Getty)

In recent years cross-voting, the practice of supporting or voting for an opposing party's second-best interest, has become increasingly popular. For example, in 2008 Rush Limbaugh hoped to dilute some of Barack Obama's momentum by founding "Operation Chaos" which encouraged conservatives to vote for Hillary Clinton. And now with Michigan's open primary, the Daily Kos is calling for Michigan Democrats to vote for Rick Santorum in order to make things difficult for Mitt Romney.

Rob Richie works at Fair Vote, a nonpartisan research advocacy organization promoting fair elections. Patricia Lesko is a Michigan Democrat who will not be participating in the open primary .


Patricia Lesko and Rob Richie

Comments [12]


Welcome to the Republican Party, Molly! I hope that you will find time to respond to the cards you will be getting after your primary registration, and send in your donation to the party in an amount of $25, $50 or $250.

Feb. 22 2012 08:09 AM
Molly from Farmington, MI

Though I fully support our President, I will make a point to vote in the Republican primary in MI. The purpose is to help send Romney a strong message. He was dead wrong to oppose the auto bailouts! He should not get one vote in MI, let alone win.

Feb. 22 2012 05:19 AM

EVERYBODY should want to vote in the primary where there vote might have an impact. My problem with what is being suggested is that those that decide to vote in ANY election should always endeavor to pick the candidate that best represents their ideals (not the one they think can beat or will lose to the other party). This way they have a chance to positively impact the election and make their priorities known to each party as the chances to vote come up.

Feb. 21 2012 08:01 PM

Deb from Detroit:

Yes; everyone who wishes to vote in this primary will be declaring themselves to have "Rebublican" affiliation. If you do not wish to do that, you should not vote.

At the same time, political vandals on the left who don't mind being publicly declared as Republicans (and consequently supplying their names and addresses to the party for futuring fundraising and politicking) can go ahead, make the declaration, and vote. They will be thereafter listed as Republicans until such time as they do something else, as Bryan as rightly pointed out below.

An intelligent listener might have expected that these relevant details would have been made clearer in the course of this story. But Celeste Headlee and her guests -- none of them being Republicans -- were too busy pontificating to report the salient information.

Feb. 21 2012 02:37 PM
Tom Betz

Crossover voting like this is part of a long-standing Michigan tradition. In 1972, the Michigan Republican Party leadership actually instructed its members to vote for George Wallace in the Democratic primary, which Wallace actually won, embarassing the Democratic leadership.

Feb. 21 2012 01:27 PM
Deb from Detroit

I need to ask this for clarification, because I am confused on one point. Is it true that you need to declare that yourself a Republican in order to vote in the Republican primary? What about Independents? Does that mean they cannot vote in any primary?

Feb. 21 2012 11:16 AM
Ben from Oklahoma

Has the argument turned to being 'honest' in the realm of political elections? Surely no one believes honesty is still part of the system.

Feb. 21 2012 10:22 AM

The Takeaway: "The frothy mixture of determined left-wing public radio bias, and commercial radio superficiality."

Feb. 21 2012 08:35 AM

What the heck did we just listen to? Is this really our national public radio network, devoted to fair and in-depth reporting of stories that really matter?

On WDET-FM in Detroit, local anchor Pat Batchellor reminded listeners of a fact that this story completely overlooked because Celeste Headlee and her guests were too stupid or too blinded by leftist rage to think of it; you must register with the Republican Party to vote in this primary and that registration is a public record.

And this; the reason that so many Obama-loving leftists want Santorum to be the (weaker) Republican candidate is the best of all reasons for true and loyal Republicans to make Mitt Romney our candidate for the fall.

And Celeste; you failed, as usual, in properly qualifying Rob Richie as leading a purely partisan left-wing operation, whose signature legislative act is endorsed by every single far-left Democrat in Congress, and virtually no moderate Democrats and no Republicans. For all that your listeners heard today, they might think that is a nonpartisan organization.

Only The Takeaway could be so utterly witless, to get only a pair of people who oppose all Republicans, to discuss the Michigan Republican primary.

Feb. 21 2012 08:30 AM
Bryan from Michigan

To vote in a party primary in Michigan, you must "declare" your membership in that party -- that declaration becomes a public record (specifically, the parties know whether you voted Republican or Democrat). This is a law specific to the February presidential primary.

So cross-over voting this year becomes a public record, unlike previous Michigan presidential primaries.

Of course, declaring yourself to be a Republican when you aren't has no obligation -- but there is no mechanism for reversing that declaration.

Feb. 21 2012 08:26 AM

"Politics is a dirty, dirty business" and "we play to win" are to be remembered when discussing voter fraud and vote identification and how we are told it is an overstated problem.

Feb. 21 2012 08:23 AM
Ed in Red Bank from Red Bank, NJ

Do you remember Alvin Greene in South Carolina? Turnabout is fair play. I don't remember the media giving the Alvin Greene travesty this much coverage.

Feb. 21 2012 08:13 AM

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