The primary won’t decide the Republican presidential contest, but could scar Romney — the former Massachusetts governor who grew up in Michigan — just a week before Super Tuesday.
Rival Rick Santorum is calling upon an unusual coalition of tea party activists, religious conservatives and Democrats to help topple Romney and reclaim the momentum in the increasingly heated nomination battle. Santorum confirmed on the eve of the election that he had targeted Michigan Democrats with automated phone calls encouraging them to vote against Romney.
Party rules in Michigan allow voters to temporarily change their affiliation on the spot. The potential involvement of Democrats adds a new twist to a contest already expected to have significant implications for Romney’s White House bid.
There are 11 names on the Republican Party ballot: Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Gary Johnson, Fred Krager, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Buddy Roemer, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum — although some of the candidates have either dropped out of the race or suspended their campaigns.
There are also millage proposals on the ballot in two Ottawa County townships and a school district:
— Olive Township voters will be asked to renew a 1-mill levy for four years to fund the township’s firefighting and emergency services. Township officials said, if passed, it will raise an estimated $155,570 in the first year of the tax.
— Allendale Township voters will consider a zoning referendum. Adopted by the Township Board on Feb. 2, passage of the proposition would allow property near the northwest corner of 48th Avenue and Lake Michigan Drive to be rezoned from a planned industrial district to permit the expansion of the University Park Planned Unit Development.
— Voters in the Zeeland Public Schools district will be asked to continue an 18-mill operating millage. The millage exempts principal residences and other properties exempted by law.
Tribune Multimedia Editor Mark Brooky contributed to this report.