By Joe Hoshaw Jr.
The Aug. 7 Primary Election will give Trenton’s registered voters a chance to have their say in a handful of Republican and Democratic races that will set the field for the November General Election.
But City Clerk Trish Gearhart is cautioning voters to follow the instructions of poll workers closely when they head to their local precinct to fill out their paper ballots.
The ballots have been revised from past elections and the instructional information on the front has been removed. What concerns Gearhart is that the “Partisan Section” of the ballot listing Democratic and Republican candidates doesn’t include any type of wording explaining that voters can only vote for candidate in one party or the other, and not cross over.
“They can only vote for all Republican or all Democratic candidates, otherwise the entire ballot will not count; it will be tossed out,” Gearhart said.
Once they obtain their ballots, voters will find a light mix of races on both sides of the aisle.
The primary race with the most local interest is likely the Republican runoff of the 12th District Congressional seat, which has Trenton resident and businesswomen Cynthia Kallgren facing Dearbornite Karen Jacobsen. The victor in that race, though, likely faces the unenviable task of having to take on longtime incumbent John Dingell in November. Dingell is paired against challenger Daniel Marcin in the primary.
Other races see incumbent Republican state Rep. Pat Somerville attempting to fend off a primary challenge from Jeremy Cady. State representative candidate Tom Boritski is unchallenged on the Democratic Party Section of the ballot.
Five candidates are seeking the Wayne County Sheriff position, including incumbent Benny Napoleon, Mike Thomas and Mohamad Hammoud, all Democrats, and Republicans Taras P. Nykoriak and Shelly L. Milton.
For County Clerk, Republicans Werner J. Klein and Adam Salam Adamski are facing off for the chance to run against incumbent Democrat Cathy M. Garrett, who is unopposed.
A total of seven Democratic challengers are trying to unseat incumbent Treasurer Raymond J. Wojtowicz. They include Robert Robinson, Lillie Skinner, Devon Lamar Twilley, Taissa Williams, Calvin Harris, Dana A. Harris and Beverly Kindle-Walker. They are no Republican candidates for Treasurer, so the Democratic winner will be unopposed in November.
Along with the partisan section of the ballot, voters will be asked to narrow a field of 11 Circuit Court judge candidates down to three.
The candidates are Mark Somers, John Joseph Sullivan, David D. Whitaker, Karen Braxton, Kevin Cox, Jane Ellen Gillis, Adel Harb, Dana Margaret Hathaway, Rohn Mitchell, Brian L. Morrow and Kelly Ann Ramsey.
Trenton voters also need to be wary of some recent changing in precinct locations.
Polling stations have been revised for those in Precincts 2, 4 and 5, Gearhart said.
Residents previously assigned to vote at Hedke Elementary School will now cast their ballots at the Kennedy Recreation Center, while those who voted at Anderson Elementary School will now vote at the Westfield Activities Center.
New Voter Registration Cards sent out in May reflect these updates, but because it comes on the heels of last year’s restructuring, Gearhart is hoping to avoid any Election Day confusion.
Trenton is in a unique voting situation since the residents in the north section of the city are part of the Riverview School District. Depending on where they live, Trenton residents will be voting on two or three ballot issues.
Trenton residents will join voters throughout Wayne County in deciding whether or not to renew millage support for art institute services and jail services. Both would be a renewal of at least 10 years.
The art institute levy request is for 0.2 mils, or 20 cents per $1,000 in taxable property value. If approved, the millage would generate $8.28 million in 2012.
In regard to the jail millage, voters are being asked to continue the .9381 tax (94 cents per $1,000 taxable value). If approved, the millage would generate $38.8 million.
The ballot for north Trenton residents will also include a bond proposal to allow Riverview Public Schools to borrow up to $31.9 million for additions and improvements to buildings and grounds, and technology upgrades throughout the district. If approved, the estimated tax levy for 2012 would be 2.51 mills ($2.51 for every $1,000 in taxable property value), for a net increase in 2013 of 6.20 mills.
Sheila R. McAfee contributed to this report