Primary voters head for the polls

LAKE COUNTY - With all the noise surrounding Iowa caucuses, and primary election voting in New Hampshire, South Carolina, and this week in Florida, Michigan voters might forget they also will be called on soon to cast ballots in the states primary.

The Michigan Primary will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 28, this year. The usual polling places will be open in each district in Lake County. There are no new developments or changes in polling locations.

Michigan’s Primary Election is only a few weeks away, and voting officials are convinced this state could have a pivotal role in choosing who will be on the presidential ballot in 2012.

Depending on results in Florida and elsewhere, voters of Michigan could have a substancial say in who is the Republican candidate in November.

Many people believe primary voting is just for specific party members - and not necessarily for the general public.

This is not true, every registered voter can take part in primary voting.

Still, this year, people going to the polls to vote in the primary will need to declare party affiliation.

On the Feb. 28 ballot, voters will see a long list of potential GOP candidates on the ballot.

People should not be confused. Some of these are unknowns. Some of the better knowns are already out of the race.

Declared Republican voters will be able to choose from (in alphabetical order), Michele Bachman, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Gary Johnson, Fred Karger, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Buddy Roemer, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum.

On the Democratic side of the ballot there is only incumbent President Barack Obama and a spot left open for an “Uncommitted Candidate.”

In a new development, when lining up at the polls this year, voters will be asked to declare they are, indeed, citizens of the United States.

They also will need to ask for either a Republican or Democratic ballot. There is no legal obligation for them to vote in the General Election in November the same way they voted in the February primary.

Whatever the case, this primary may well be considerably more important for the GOP ballot in November than what some voters may think.

The tight Republican race could be determined by how Michigan voters lean.

There are no local issues on the ballot this time around.

Voting will only be for primary candidates for the job of President of the United States.