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2018 Michigan Primary Election: What you need to know before heading to the polls on Tuesday

Voters sign in at Morris Brandon Elementary on March 1, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Bob Andres/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS)

Voting in the Michigan Primary Election is less than a week away with polls opening from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Aug. 7. 

First on the ballot are the gubernatorial candidates which include Brian Calley (R), Patrick Colbeck (R), Jim Hines (R), Bill Schuette (R), Abdul El-Sayed (D), Shri Thanedar (D), Gretchen Whitmer (D), Bill Gelineau (LB) and John J. Tatar (LB). The primary election results will determine which candidates will represent their parties be on the ballot in the November election.

In addition to selecting a new state governor, voters will also cast votes for state senators and representatives.

The deadline has passed to register to vote in the primaries on Tuesday, but citizens can still register to vote by Oct. 9 to participate in the November election. Registered voters, however, still have time to request an absentee ballot for the primaries. The deadline to submit a request for an absentee ballot is 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 4. Absentee ballots are an option for registered voters who are over 60-years-old, unable to vote without assistance, those who will be out of town on election day, are incarcerated awaiting arraignment or trial, cannot attend the polls due to religious reasons or those who are working as election inspectors in a precinct outside of their precinct. To request an absentee ballot, click here.

Some of the items to expect on the November ballot including a proposal that would legalize recreational use of marijuana and regulate it like alcohol, a proposal to increase minimum wage from $10 to $12 by 2022 and a proposed Great Lakes Pipeline Safety Regulation Act that would prohibit allowing easements for oil or petroleum pipelines in Lake Michigan. For a full list of statewide proposals expected on the November ballot, click here.

Information on voting registration status and where to vote can be found on the Michigan Voter Information Center online.

On the ballot this year is Grand Rapids Community College student Ryan Jeanette. Jeanette is studying political science and is in the running in the 28th State Senate District.

The primary election is vital to the general election, according to Grand Rapids Community College Political Science Professor Yan Bai.

“It is crucial because the candidates have to win the nomination first within their parties,” Bai said. “Then the voters of the general election will be choosing between or among the parties.”

Bai also emphasizes the importance of voting and what the results of the election mean for our college and community.

“Non-voting will keep the status quo,” Bai said. “Unless this is what (students) want, eligible voters should get out and participate…Who runs the government affects the students in many ways, such as the sources of funding to the colleges, therefore the cost (tuition) of students. It is also about the job market or economy.”