Thursday, September 15, 2011

Michigan Senate Passes February 28 Presidential Primary Bill

The Michigan state Senate just passed an amended version of SB 584 by a vote of 25-12. The legislation initially called for the creation of a committee, similar to the Presidential Preference Primary Date Selection Committee in Florida, to set a date for the Wolverine state presidential primary by October 1. The committee idea was scrapped in the amended version, and some additional technical language in the law was cleaned up. However, the date called for in the current law -- the fourth Tuesday in February -- was left untouched. That, in turn, means that if this bill passes the state House and is signed into law by Governor Rick Snyder (R), Michigan will be locked into February 28.

But why was legislation necessary if the date will not be changed? Other than the changes in the language of the law, the biggest addition was a provision closing off the primary to independents, non-partisans and Democrats. The amended bill calls for voters to indicate in writing -- on a form to be created by the Michigan secretary of state -- which presidential primary in which the voter will participate. The guidelines from the Michigan Republican Party State Committee discussed a few weeks ago additionally indicated that that information -- who had requested what ballot -- would be made public as some measure of enforcement.

For our purposes at FHQ, however, the important aspect of this is that there is now a plan in place to lock Michigan into a February 28 presidential primary date. In other words, if this bill becomes law, Michigan is no more or less threatening to the overall state of the 2012 presidential primary calendar than Arizona represents on the same date. This would change nothing other than to add Michigan to the calendar in a more formal way.

Are you following FHQ on TwitterGoogle+ and Facebook? Click on the links to join in.

No comments: