What to know about Michigan's presidential primary election

Correction: The International Court of Justice found allegations of genocide to be 'plausible,' but did not condemn Israel or its military campaign, and instead urged Israel to take measures against preventing genocide.

Michigan is one of the country’s closest-watched swing states in the country, and has sided with the winning presidential candidate in every election since 2004. The state’s blue-collar communities and diversity help make it a well-tread stepping stone for candidates every election cycle.

Primary Day and delegate allocation – what’s new?

The 2024 election calendar looks different than years past. National-level Democrats moved to have diverse states such as Michigan and South Carolina further up the ballot, arguing that they were more reflective of the party’s voting base than traditional early election cycle states like Iowa and New Hampshire.

Republican National Committee rules decree that only Nevada, Iowa, South Carolina, and New Hampshire may hold primaries before March 1. State Republicans partnered with the national committee to allow voters to cast their ballots on February 27, and congressional district caucus meetings and a statewide party convention will take place on March 2. The February 27 election will decide the course of 16 delegates, while the statewide March 2 convention will take the results from the 13 district caucuses, and determine the direction of the remaining 39 delegates.

An additional wrench in the already-complicated Republican primary is infighting within the state’s Republican party. Two prominent figures in the party, Pete Hoekstra, and Kristina Karomo, have proposed separate conventions at opposite ends of the state on March 2.

What's on the ballot?

Presidential races are the main event of Michigan's primary. Republican ballots will feature more candidate options than the two that remain in the race, Nikki Hayley and Donald Trump. Democratic ballots will feature President Joe Biden and Minnesota Representative Dean Phillips, and, notably, a box labeled ‘uncommitted’ (more on that below).

More: When will we see Michigan primary election results? How to find the latest numbers.

Who gets to vote?

Michigan allows same-day voter registration. Voters in Michigan must have lived in their registered municipality for at least 30 days before the election, be at least 18 years old, be a U.S. Citizen, and not currently serving a prison or jail sentence. Formerly incarcerated felons can vote.

Voters can cast their ballot in one primary of their choosing, even if they are registered under another party.

Why are groups encouraging Democratic voters to mark ‘uncommitted’?

In the five months since the Israel-Hamas war, triggered by militants who attacked southern Israel on Oct. 7, an estimated 1,200 people in Israel were killed, according to official government tallies.

Israel responded with an air and ground assault on Gaza that has displaced most of the population of 2.3 million, caused widespread hunger and reduced much of its infrastructure to rubble. Nearly 30,000 Palestinians have been killed in that same period, according to the health ministry in Gaza.

After a case alleging genocide was brought against Israel in the International Court of Justice, the court ordered the Israeli military to prevent genocide, something that human rights groups, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, say has failed to happen. Biden's commitment to unconditionally funding the Israeli military has caused his support among two typically loyal voting groups, young voters and voters of Arab and Muslim descent, to plummet.

Black, Hispanic and young voters abandon Biden, new poll shows (usatoday.com)

In Michigan, a swing state with one of the country’s largest Arab American populations, local Muslim and Arab organizers and politicians are encouraging frustrated voters across the state to mark their ballots as ‘uncommitted’ in today’s primary. Organizers hope that, where widespread protests have been ineffective in swaying the president, electoral action might prevail.

When do polls close? How long does vote counting usually take?

Polls close at 8 p.m. local time across the state. For the majority of the state, this means 8 p.m. Eastern Time, and for four of the state’s Upper Peninsula counties, this means 8 p.m. Central Time.

A "vote her" sign outside of a precinct in Holland, Michigan
A "vote her" sign outside of a precinct in Holland, Michigan

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Michigan primary results reveal dissention among Democrats for Biden