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THE ‘UNCOMMITTEDS

Much has been – and will continue to be  – written about the number of uncommitted votes cast in the recent presidential primary in Michigan. With the exception of the 2008 presidential primary in the Mitten State when Barack Obama and three other candidates removed their names from the primary ballot when the state moved the vote to an earlier January date against national DNC rules, leaving Hillary Clinton the only name facing voters and over 238,000 uncommitted votes were cast, usually about 20,000 votes are normally logged by those choosing the uncommitted category. Voting as uncommitted allows voters to cast a party ballot without having to pledge to a specific candidate that they support. This year, just over 100,000 uncommitted votes were cast in Michigan, about 13.3 percent of those participating in the Democratic primary. In large part, you can thank the campaign by Palestinian-Americans residing in the Dearborn area, often referred to as the Arab capital of North America where over half the population is of Middle Eastern or North African descent. Arab and Muslim residents there responded to a concerted effort by the Listen to Michigan group intent on sending a message to President Joe Biden, who until just recently refused to publicly call for a cease-fire, temporary or permanent, in the Israel-Gaza war. Closer to home, in Oakland County, 15,645 (12.48 percent) uncommitted votes were cast by Democrats and in the Republican primary, 4,094 (2.76 percent) voters checked the uncommitted box, no doubt a protest about Trump in 2024. Drilling further down, Democrats in Birmingham cast 220 votes as uncommitted; Bloomfield Township, 807 were uncommitted; and in Bloomfield Hills’ two precincts, 75 were uncommitted. In the Republican primary, 46 uncommitted votes were cast in Birmingham; 200 in Bloomfield Township; and 28 in Bloomfield Hills. We will hold our guesstimate of what all this means until we get closer to the November general election.

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