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Few Voters Cast Ballots In Michigan Presidential Primary

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(WWJ Photo/Ron Dewey, File)

(WWJ Photo/Ron Dewey, File)

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DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – With just a few hours left until the polls close, turnout has been low in Michigan’s presidential primary election. Election officials expect between 15 percent and 20 percent of the state’s registered voters to cast ballots on Tuesday.

Get Michigan primary election results as they are reported. CBSDetroit.com/primary

Voters who choose a GOP ballot can choose between Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul. Seven other Republicans on the ballot no longer are active or haven’t mounted major campaigns.

President Barack Obama doesn’t have any competition in the Democratic primary, but votes for him won’t count. Democrats will choose their favorite at a May 5 caucus.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Only declared Republicans may vote in Tuesday’s GOP primary, but party rules allow voters to change their affiliation temporarily on the spot. (Not sure if you’re registered or where to vote? Visit this link).

The latest results from Public Policy Polling finds Rick Santorum holding on to the smallest of leads with 38% to 37% for Mitt Romney, 14% for Ron Paul, and 9% for Newt Gingrich.

Momentum seems to be swinging in Santorum’s direction. Romney led with those interviewed on Sunday, but Santorum has a 39-34 advantage with folks polled on Monday.

At stake for Republicans are 30 delegates awarded largely by congressional district.

In Oakland County, voter turnout is expected to be a little bit better. Based on the turn-out for the last presidential primary, County Clerk Bill Bullard Jrthinks turnout will be around 25-percent; possibly higher, given the intensity of campaigning.

“Santorum and Romney have spent a lot of money and Paul has spent a little bit of money. So, a lot of newspaper advertisements; a lot of robo-calling. That’s why I think it may be a little bit higher , but probably not that much higher than four years ago,” Bullard told WWJ Newsradio 950.

Bullard thinks that by 9:30 p.m., we’ll begin to see in which direction voting is headed. The absentee ballot count is expected to begin at noon and completed soon after 8 p.m.

So, what are the hottest issues? Most Republican voters speaking to WWJ’s Ron Dewey said the issue of government help for General Motors and Chrysler was not a factor in deciding their vote.

But Democratic voters including, John Crowley of Redford Township, say that is very much an election year issue. “If they had let the auto industry flounder it wouldn’t have just been the big three, it would have been their supplier and everybody that’s involved,” said Crowley. “All of the empoloyees, even the guy at the five and dime store or mom and pop shop.”

Quite a few Republican voters said they didn’t make their minds until they were in the voting booth. For those GOP voters Dewey spoke with, the issues were the same.

“The social issues and the economy and I hope that somebody will do something about the gas,” said one man.

Local issues are also expected to bring out the vote in communities including Redford Township, where voters are deciding police and fire protection, along with senior and recreation programs.

Find local results below as they’re submitted by county officials:

Stay with WWJ Newsradio 950 and CBSDetroit.com for continuing election coverage.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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