LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan voters will go to the polls Tuesday for primary elections that will set the stage for November races and decide the fate of a statewide ballot issue. Here are five things to know about Election Day:
1. ‘ACCIDENTAL’ CONGRESSMAN DONE?
Republican U.S. Rep. Kerry Bentivolio, an unknown former teacher, auto designer and reindeer farmer, won the 11th District in suburban Detroit in 2012 because he was the only Republican on the primary ballot after incumbent Thad McCotter inexplicably turned in fraudulent voter signatures. Bentivolio faces a serious threat in lawyer Dave Trott, who has given or loaned $2.4 million to his campaign — which makes him the fifth-biggest self-funder among all House candidates nationwide.
2. HOUSE SHAKE-UP
Opportunity knocks in four of Michigan’s 14 House seats because Democrat John Dingell and Republicans Dave Camp and Mike Rogers are retiring, and Democrat Gary Peters is seeking retiring Democratic Sen. Carl Levin’s seat. Primary winners from the departing congressmen’s party will have the edge come November. Dingell’s wife, Debbie, faces minimal opposition to fill his Detroit-area seat. The other open contests are competitive. Another closely watched race is Grand Rapids investment adviser Brian Ellis’ challenge to libertarian-leaning Republican Rep. Justin Amash.
3. LONE QUESTION
The only statewide ballot proposal asks voters to replace lost revenue from the gradual elimination of personal property taxes that industrial and small businesses pay on machinery and equipment. Gov. Rick Snyder and lawmakers approved phasing out the tax for many businesses, saying it duplicated other taxes and discouraged growth. But the $500 million-plus tax cut will be halted if voters do not approve the proposed mechanism to replace the lost revenue in local budgets — a combination of diverting a portion of Michigan’s use tax on out-of-state purchase and requiring manufacturers to pay a new special assessment on industrial equipment estimated to be about 20 percent of their current personal property tax bill.
4. ANEMIC TURNOUT
For what is thought to be the first time in Michigan history, Republican and Democratic primaries for both governor and U.S. Senate in the same year are uncontested. So voter turnout will be low, potentially extremely low. The worst in recent memory was 1990, when 15 percent of the voting-age population cast a primary ballot. Lower turnout could help challengers against incumbents and grassroots candidates against better-financed establishment candidates.
5. AT THE POLLS
Polls are open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Absentee ballots can be obtained in person at a local clerk’s office before 4 p.m. Monday.
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