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  • The Detroit Free Press

    Michiganders are pivotal this election. We're watching voters in these 8 counties.

    By Arpan Lobo, Detroit Free Press,


    Michigan, once again, is a pivotal state in this year's presidential election. As the race heats up, the Free Press is focused on delivering coverage that encapsulates Michigan's voters and the issues they're most concerned about, both at the local level and ones debated on the national stage.

    In order to highlight how important Michigan voters are again this cycle, we're focusing on eight counties identified through a partnership with the American Communities Project (more on that here) because they offer a wide range of voters with varying life experiences, ideas and opinions.

    Here, you can find eight profile stories on these counties, free to read:

    • Wayne County: Michigan's largest, most diverse county regularly presents a sizeable voting bloc for Democratic candidates. But the upcoming presidential election could hinge on whether voters in Detroit, Michigan's largest city, turn out at high levels.
    • Kent County: Kent County, home to Grand Rapids, the second largest city in Michigan, was once thought of as a Republican stronghold. But as the county grows, it's turned into a legitimate election battleground, one that national media flocks to every four years. The county's makeup of urban, suburban and rural communities is also a reflection of Michigan's makeup as a state.
    • Ingham County: Ingham County may be most famously known for being the home of the state capital or Michigan State University. But it’s also a mix of rural, urban and college communities, cutting through a unique cross-section of voters in a state expected to play a crucial role in this year's elections.
    • Livingston County: Many communities in Livingston County tend to be more conservative, but a geographic split in voting patterns appears between the county's suburban and rural communities. Originally consisting primarily of small villages and rural areas with family farms, in recent decades the county’s southeastern area has seen an influx of people settling and commuting to the urban and suburban areas of metro Detroit.
    • Osceola County: Residents of Osceola County can't afford to ignore politics: from a fight to keep a unique community establishment, to work being done to attract new businesses, residents in Osceola County are engaged as national issues like inflation play out at the local level.
    • Saginaw County: Saginaw County has turned into a bellwether in Michigan — every four years since 1992, the presidential candidate who won the county has also swept Michigan's electoral votes by winning the entire state. The county, in 2024, is feeling its political juice.
    • Schoolcraft County: When you ask residents of Schoolcraft County in the Upper Peninsula to talk about their home, they’ll usually first mention the scenic environment and how close they are to Lake Michigan. But the same rural qualities they value present difficulties for the community that other, larger counties in the state don’t face, something that affects the area’s concerns, solutions and political landscape.
    • Newaygo County: A reliably red county, Newaygo County is home to a little more than 50,000 residents. It's an area where unique downtowns and natural recreation opportunities drive much of the economy and discourse, and Newaygo County's residents are engaged on local issues they are on those at the national level.

    This article is part of a collaboration between The Free Press, a Michigan State University course and the American Communities Project to tell the stories of voters, their experiences, and their political motivations in communities across Michigan leading up to the 2024 election. Connect with us at

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