CAMPAIGN COVERAGE COMMENTARY: How has campaign coverage in Michigan changed, and why? We talk to a Grand Valley State political scientist and the most senior member of the Capitol press corps, Tim Skubick. Commentary for news and opinion sections. By Eric Freedman. FOR LANSING CITY PULSE AND ALL POINTS
As controversy continues to form around the 2020 Presidential Election, many local residents seem to have opted to vote absentee for the recent primary, and the numbers show similar trends for the general election in the fall. According to a July Detroit Free Press article by Paul Egan, over 22,000 voters have requested absentee ballots of which 60% have been returned. The total number of absentee ballots sent out for the 2016 Presidential election was 5,500. Michigan State student and Ingham County resident Cassy Landes said she knew “no matter what I wanted to vote in this election” so voting absentee was the only choice. “I thought about it (voting absentee), but I never seriously considered it until COVID reared its ugly head,” Landes said.
A spokesman for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign announced Tuesday, March 24, that Sanders will debate Joe Biden if one is scheduled for April. Despite Biden’s wins in primaries across the nation, Sanders does not seem to be dropping out anytime soon. Over a month ago, representatives of six Democratic campaigns attended MSU College Democrats’ primary event on Feb. 20 with the intent to educate students on the candidates’ policies.
“It all sort of fell together very nicely, so I’m really excited that it’s here, and I’m hoping that a lot of people turn out so that we can really make this an educational and worthwhile event,” said Mary Gibbons, president of MSU College Democrats. “We want to make sure that people have a good idea of what their plan is to vote before spring break.”
Only two candidates remain after a month of candidates dropping out of the Democratic presidential race: Sanders and former Vice President Biden.
Gordon Trowbridge, spokesman for Slotkin’s re-election campaign, said from a campaign standpoint, he has noticed a difference this year in public participation. Trowbridge said it seems like voters are aware this is a big moment for Michigan because a lot of national issues addressed can also have a significant impact on a local level. For example, concerns about medical costs and water quality is at the top of that list.
“What was successful for Slotkin in 2018 and so far this year, was to be pragmatic toward these issues,” he said. “Slotkin has said participating in the choice-making is one of the most important symbols to show love for the country.”
Slotkin decided before voting took place to publicly endorse Democrat Joe Biden in the year’s primary.
Infographic listing some of the candidates and topics voters may have seen on their ballot. Credit: Lauren Buchko
Trowbridge said he has definitely noticed a higher turnout during campaign events. “Slotkin realizes there’s a lot of attention on Michigan during the primaries,” he said. “It’s kind of like a ‘ground zero’ when it comes to a campaign.”
Representing the district
Trowbridge said it’s quite a bit of work for Slotkin to represent Michigan while in Washington D.C. because of the complicated schedule, but she works to represent as best as she can.
With the 2020 presidential election top of mind, some Meridian Township residents said they want a leader with a strong moral compass and who will improve the health care system.
Sarah Howard, a Meridian Township resident, said even though she doesn’t keep up with the candidates’ positions, she wants to see a huge change. “I don’t think our healthcare system makes any sense,” said Howard. “I appreciate that we are trying to move toward a socialized health care system, but I do not think the current system makes financial sense.”
Howard is also concerned that social media may become a greater issue with the next leader elected in office. She wishes media would report on more real issues instead of hot topics. Howard said: “I think most of the other changes I want to see are more social than something that has to do directly with the presidency.