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What's at stake for the Michigan primary election, aside from nominations

What's at stake for the Michigan primary election? What to know
What's at stake for the Michigan primary election? What to know 02:43

(CBS DETROIT) - Tuesday is the 2024 Michigan presidential primary. President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump are looking to repeat their past Michigan primary victories. While the frontrunners aren't new, this year's primaries have some differences.

One of the biggest changes is that Michigan's primary election is happening about two weeks earlier.

"We made the case that we're a diverse swing state, and we should go early in the process," said Matt Grossmann, the director of the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research at Michigan State University.

He said Michigan Democrats fought for earlier voting as a way to influence subsequent state's elections, and as a way to have candidates prioritize Michigan's needs. But that early role in the primary process could be threatened by the current push for democratic voters to vote "uncommitted" in protest of Biden's support for Israel.

READ: With early voting, Michigan election officials anticipate a low turnout for Tuesday's primary

"The interesting thing here is that the Democrats went to a lot of trouble to get this primary early in the process. And they told Joe Biden's campaign and the national Democratic party that this would be great for Democrats because we've got a diverse swing state going voting in the process, and that would set us up well to go early into 2028."

Grossmann said if Michiganders would rather vote uncommitted than for Biden, that could hurt the party's chances of voting earlier again in the 2028 primaries. 

He said another thing to keep in mind is that Michigan voters can vote in either party's primary. 

"This has been important in previous elections. For example, Hilary Clinton and Bernie Sanders wasn't looking all that competitive. And so, a lot of people decided to vote in the Republican Primary," said Grossmann. "That actually helped Bernie Sanders do better because it was mostly your Hilary Clinton voters who were voting in the Republican primary. So, there's sometimes some interesting dynamics with who decides to vote in what primary. Let's say a lot of Democrats decided there's not really a contest on the Democratic side. 'I'll vote on the Republican side.' Those are the kind of people we usually have trouble finding in polls, and that might be one reason why Niki Haley does a few points better than expected."

He said if there is a strong turnout for the primaries, it could help convince both parties that Michigan deserves an early role in future primaries. Michigan voters can register to vote through election day. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday. 

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