Voter Education: Republican Delegate Primary


15-minute read

Executive Summary: The Open Primary system in Michigan and Ottawa County must change, due to Democrat interference in Republican primaries, the Republican donor class who influence candidates based on wealth instead of Party values, and the dishonesty of individual candidates who are not properly vetted, claiming to have Republican conservative values, yet instead govern according to liberal values.

What Is a Primary, How the Primary Needs to Change, Why Change is Necessary and Who This Change Helps 

What is a Primary?

Primary elections allow voters to determine which candidates compete in the general election and can be nonpartisan or partisan. In partisan primaries, voters choose the candidates they prefer for a political party to nominate in the general election. The laws governing primaries vary from state to state and can even vary within states by locality and political party. This means, across the United States, there are 3 different types of primaries.

The Three Types of Primaries:

1.  Open Primary: a type of primary election where voters do not have to formally affiliate with a political party in advance in order to vote in the primary.

2.  Hybrid Primary:  a type of primary election where voters that are not affiliated with a political party may participate in the partisan primary election of their choice.  Voters who are affiliated with a political party are only allowed to vote in that party’s primary.  The types of hybrid primaries vary from caucus conventions to party rules about who can vote.

3.  Closed Primary:  a type of primary election in which a voter must affiliate formally with a political party in advance of the election date in order to participate in the party’s primary.

States listed, Organized by Primary Type:

1.  Open (20):  Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

2.  Semi-Closed/Hybrid (14): Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, and West Virginia.

3.  Closed (15):  Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.

What is Michigan's Current System?

Currently, Michigan is an open primary state.  However, a majority of states have some sort of closed primary system.  Michigan is not reinventing the wheel.  The Michigan Republican Party is taking steps for the Republican voters of this state to Protect Our Primary. If we were to use more casual language to explain the system here in Michigan, we would refer to it as the Wild, Wild West, as we currently have an “anything goes” system. Anyone can vote any candidate, for any Presidential Primary candidate, regardless of their Party affiliation.

Why Is Change Needed in Ottawa County?

There are several reasons why change is necessary. We will discuss several of them here.

1. Democrats, Libertarians, Independents, and Republicans can all vote in the Republican Primary. Because of this, the option is available for Democrats to vote in Republican primaries.  Not only do they do this, they openly and publicly talk about this. The following image displays recent, public remarks from the marketing director, Jacqueline Flory Poehlman, who represents Ottawa County prosecutorial candidate, “Sarah M.,” who is running under the name “Republican.” Ms. Poehlman openly admits her client, Sarah Matwiejczyk is not a Republican, that she [Ms. Poehlman] has never worked for a “Republican,” and that she “never imagined” ever working for one in her life.  *Ottawa Objects is a PAC that formed in response to Ottawa Impact winning the majority of seats on the Board of Commissioners in August of 2022, a Primary election that replaced a litany of officials who lived under the name “Republican,” yet governed in a way that demonstrated a tyrannical approach to local government. Ottawa Objects misses our local government being a bigger brother than it is with this current Board.

And here is the former Chair of the Ottawa County Republican Party, another self-proclaimed “Republican” who governed the local Party in a manner that most real Republicans suggest wasn’t conservative. Why does he support Ms. Matwiejczyk, given the admissions of her marketing director? There is cause to wonder if the candidate herself would support the red nature [Constitutional aspects of prosecutorial discretion] of our County’s citizens overall, since this type of crossover is allowed in primary elections.


Additionally, the following local podcast features former BOC Chairman, [current sitting Commissioner of District 10] Roger Bergman, a "Republican," admitting he had to run "AS  a Republican," since no one can get elected in Ottawa County if they claim to be a Democrat. Bergman's testimonial is noteworthy, given he was the Board Chair during the worst of Ottawa's Covid lockdowns. This is a 45-second clip. 

To View this entire podcast and to read the breakdown of our analysis and references to more time-clips, please scroll to the bottom under Supplementary Material.

*As you can clearly see, our primary elections are compromised, by allowing any participant to vote in them. Democrats are actively engaged in sabotaging the vote, before the primary even happens.  Republicans need to vet and vote for their own representation together, in order to have candidates in November for the general-election ballot who are clearly understood and conclusively decided upon. The materials compiled and referenced above are open, admitted public comments. These candidates, elected's and those who work for them are fully admitting they are not conservative Republicans.

And if all of that weren't enough, this happened over the weekend of February 26, 2024⬇️

Michigan Primary 2024: Crossover Efforts Target Trump...

So, as we've established, the first reason that change is needed is because of crossover sabotage, which is an absolute problem for our Primary elections. Now, we return to our original question and the additional reasons: Why does the Primary need to change, especially in Ottawa County?

2.  The second reason is, that closing the primaries takes money out of assured victories for candidates funded by wealthy donors; it costs thousands of dollars to run in a primary. Of course then, the candidate with the most money, which is influenced by their donor pool can purchase the most advertising, including television and radio advertising, as well as billboard features, mailers, etc. When candidates have donors who influence their funding, these candidates govern to what their donors prefer, not according to their morals and convictions.

*If open primaries are changed to, at the very least, a closed system as the majority of other states have, it helps this problem by allowing only registered Republicans to vote in the Primary for Republicans.

 *We can see how dangerous the open primary is for the citizenry, especially in places like Ottawa where the majority of citizens are conservative and want their County to remain Red. The crossover problem gives Democrats the right to skew the outcome by placing a candidate they prefer with an “R” next to their name on the ballot for the general election. If Democrats prefer a certain candidate win a Republican primary, be assured it’s not one that will govern according to the way conservative Republicans want.

So, the bare minimum of closing the primary allows those with the best values and morals to become candidates, instead of the wealthiest.  Part of the problem in our government, is the vast influence of cash.  This will help eliminate milquetoast Republicans which can be replaced with conclusive conservative candidates.

3.  The third reason is due to the 2020 and 2022 elections which demonstrated that our election systems are compromised.  From machines that can switch votes, to no-excuse absentee ballot harvesting, and lack of voter ID, many Michiganders, especially in Ottawa County are untrustworthy of the current system.  Therefore, this takes a massive step forward in the election integrity sphere to ensure Republicans are chosen by the people, not the machines or people who run the elections.  

How Does the Change Occur?

1. Michigan Republican Party may host conventions and caucuses to elect the nominees for the general election by precinct delegates.  County parties meanwhile, would nominate county and state positions.

2.  The Ottawa County Republicans will be hosting a new Endorsement Convention, planned for May 16th.  Recently passed unanimously by the OCRP Delegation on February 15th, 2024, the OCRP will gather the Delegation once more to vote on which candidates running for our various local offices, including Sheriff, County Treasurer and Prosecutor we will offer our Endorsements to as a Party, and whom, as a Delegation we believe will be the best candidates to represent the citizens of Ottawa County, according to the Delegates, who represent the citizens in their many various neighborhoods through the County. The Delegates are informed and will be more so, because the candidates will spend the next several months meeting with the candidates together, where these candidates will be intentionally and intensely vetted.  

One step further than a "Closed Primary," would be a Republican Delegate Primary. In this type of Primary, the delegates would vote in caucus and by delegation for the partisan positions, from the county level to the state level for the names that appear on your ballot.  This means they would vote for: County Treasurer, County Prosecutor, County Sheriff, County Clerk, County Drain Commissioner, County Commissioners, State Legislature, and State Senate.  (If anything crosses the county line, the votes would then be tallied across counties.) 

3.  District Conventions would also be held to nominate the United States Congress Representative.

4.  State Conventions would be held to nominate the United States Senator.

5.  Primaries will still be happening in your local areas even under a Delegate Primary on August 6, 2024,  because although the Delegates will choose the candidates in a Delegate Primary for the Republican general-election ballot,  the precinct delegates themselves are also up for election and reelection, as well as candidates for township primaries, which would still need to be voted on by a general primary.  

A side note: We encourage all of those who would like to run for precinct delegate and to get involved, to contact the OCRP at 616-396-3791 contact via email at [email protected] . The precinct delegate role has now been elevated back to its proper status of representative importance!

What System is Best and Why is Change Necessary?

Through this educational piece, we’ve tried to educate you as best we can on the complicated and unsafe Open Primary System in Michigan and share some important reasons for the change. We will reiterate, at the VERY least, Michigan’s system needs to change from an Open system to a Closed system, to join a majority of states in our country who already have primaries that function fairly well, and at least MUCH better than Michigan’s. Utah is currently changing their processes right now to move to a closed system, during this election year.

However, the biggest change that would make the most difference, would be to change the Primary to a Republican Delegate Primary. *Now, at this point, some may have concerns that this limits the right of everyday Republicans to vote, yet we courageously ask for a little more of your time, because we do think that once you understand it better, as a reader and a voter, it will demonstrate why it is the safest option to protect Ottawa County with Conservative leaders in public elected positions.

We began this section by reminding you, the Voter, that will absolutely still vote in GENERAL elections on a paper ballot, and in your primaries for Precinct delegates, Township offices and Ballot Proposals. A Republican Delegate Primary would vote on the various candidates in the Delegation, in order to vet and intensely approve of the ones who will represent their elected offices with the principals of the Republican Party and according to values of the Constitution, in order that Ottawa remain free. 

In this type of Primary, in this new system, you will vote with your voice and 1st amendment right, by empowering the precinct delegates that live in your neighborhoods and precincts. This is called a “bottom-up system” where the citizens, We, the People, select the most conservative candidates, instead of the wealthy and powerful donor class.

A Common Concern at the Suggestion of a Delegate Primary

Some say this seems extreme. However, many do not realize that in Michigan, BOTH political parties already have closed, Delegate Primaries for the choosing and voting of candidates for the offices of Secretary of State, Attorney General and Lieutenant Governor in Michigan. For example, in the race of Secretary of State in 2022, prior to the Primary and General Election, both candidates, Kristina Karamo and Jocelyn Benson were chosen in private caucus by their Party Delegations. The same is true for the Attorney General candidates, Mathew DePerno and Dana Nessel. DePerno was chosen/voted on at a closed Republican Delegate Convention and Nessel at a closed Delegate Democrat Convention, before their names were placed on the ballot in the general election. Additionally, the office of Lieutenant Governor is also chosen/voted on by the Delegates via convention vote after the Gubernatorial primary election. Both parties do this for the Lieutenant Governor pick as well.

These processes have existed in Michigan for these three offices for decades. In truth, both parties have already proven that this system is a worthy system. The Parties themselves know their own values and select candidates for the General Election ballot that demonstrates this. Did you realize this? ...When you went to vote in the last Primary and saw either Karamo or Benson’s name on the Primary ballot as “unopposed,” perhaps you thought no one ran against them? It's a common assumption, yet it isn’t true—they definitely had competitors within their delegations and wide, intense debates went on. Yet, they came out of their Party’s District Caucuses and State Conventions the winners with the majority of votes of their individual Delegations.

And also, in case your takeaway is that the primaries definitely shouldn’t be closed due to people like the current Attorney General, Dana Nessel having been the chosen candidate in a closed Delegate Caucus, with concerns such as, “This system allows for the most corrupt candidates with no scruples to succeed into office!”--We validate that concern, however we argue this: AG Nessel has served the Democratic Party well, according to their values and agenda. She is a socialist Democrat which is what Democrats wanted. She may be a bad lawyer and terrible for the State of Michigan according to the values of conservatives! Yet, the Michigan Democratic Party chose a candidate to represent their interests. *We are arguing the same opportunity is true for Republicans here in Ottawa. In a closed Delegate Primary, when the values are liberty, and Constitutionally-focused righteousness, the Republican Delegation is informed on our clarity, purpose and desire for the absolute best conservatives.

How Can You, the Voter, Be Reassured?

We know you have questions, so here is our impassioned response to valid questions and concerns of taking this above process of a Republican Delegate Primary for the offices of SOS, AG and Lieutenant Governor one step further to include the local offices of Prosecutor, Sheriff, County Treasurer, etc.

You see, many Ottawa citizens were horrified by what took place in Ottawa County during 2020, 2021 and well into early 2022. So much so, that they knew the only way to change the many problems and situations such as the local Health Department shackling a school  who wouldn’t comply with them, or school districts placing masks on  "all staff and students," which included children as young as three years old in preschool and district daycare, was to run for Precinct Delegate in order that they could become influencers of healthy, conservative change, by representing their own neighborhoods. *For the first time, most Ottawa County residents would have neighborhood representation, a system of self-governance set by our Country's Founders. So, in December of 2022, a record of 330 duly-elected Precinct Delegates, of whom showed up at their County Convention and in a vote close to 100%, elected a brand new Executive Committee to run the local Party here in Ottawa.

Why are so many new precinct delegates craving new leadership and responding by filling seats that sat empty for decades? *Because we were the horrified moms and dads watching the rolling cancellations of our children’s activities during Covid. We are the parents who tried to help shepherd our primary-aged schoolchildren who could not sit still during “online learning’ and the travesty of it. We are business owners who lost their businesses altogether and/or still haven’t crawled back to where we were pre-Covid. We are family members who weren’t allowed to hold our loved one’s hand as they passed into eternity due to the tyranny of oppressive MDHHS policies. We are worshippers who were locked out of worship services at our own churches, while casinos, liquor stores and big box corporate stores flourished while remaining open.

What a Republican Delegate Primary is, is the coming together of four hundred or more representatives known as Precinct Delegates who are neighborhood Representatives, who now find ourselves in local politics up to our necks, because we refused to continue to be couch-complainers. We didn’t feel we could criticize the situations of local government if we weren’t doing anything ourselves to help change it. Because this contingency of citizens are now Delegates, we are the most informed citizens in the County on the values and issues of the Republican Party. We sleep, drink and eat the facts of our elected officials and whether or not they behave according to their campaign promises.

We have learned much.

We know much.

It is our absolute duty to be informed, to put candidates through rigorous vetting processes, and equip and train our Delegates [each other] on how to do this.

While many can misunderstand this primary type as a “power grab,” here is how we can prove to you that it is about about what we say it is, which is vetting and choosing the most conservative candidates to appear on your ballot in an election.

Are you ready for the reason? Here it is:

Not a single one of Ottawa Counties' Precinct Delegates are paid one thin cent. *Elected officials are paid some, such as the Sheriff, the Prosecutor, the County Treasurer, etc. So, if these office-holders are going to be paid OUR collective tax dollars and they run AS Republicans, we are going to make certain that they are the kind of leaders who will not rubber-stamp mask policies and school closures for example, that they will protect children from situational harm, and will support the issues of the Constitution of the United States of America.

No Precinct Delegates are paid.

The Delegate-Appointed Members of the Republican Party Executive Committee are not paid (24 members of which are non-elected officials).

The Chairman of the Party isn’t paid.

The ViceChair isn’t paid.

The Communications Chair isn’t paid.

The Chair of Memberships [Delegate organizer] isn’t paid.

The Treasurer isn’t paid.

The Party Secretary isn’t paid.

The Chair of Subscriptions [Fundraising] isn't paid.

All of these individuals including four hundred Delegates are not paid….Any. Thing. Ever.

So what’s in it for us you ask? The answer is simple.

A Free Ottawa.

A Republican Delegate Primary is being argued for, because over 400 Delegates are motivated by giving the Ottawa County Public the best choice on their November ballot between a Republican and a Democrat. When there are five Sheriff candidates or five of anything on your ballot for one office, would you admit to being perhaps overwhelmed or confused as to which one will defend your freedoms the best? Have you ever stood in the polling booth staring at your ballot wishing you could open your phone and do a quick search so you can be sure about your vote? Voting, when multiple candidates appear on the ballot in a primary is confusing and difficult for the voter.

That is where we come in. As Delegates, it is our job to take all the guesswork out of that process for the citizen, and to understand which candidate is an airtight Republican, and which is a crossover Democrat wearing the “R” name to get elected in Ottawa County.

As is established, there are over 400 precinct Delegate seats right here in Ottawa County. Most of us have meetings and lengthy discussions about candidates everyday. We do research, and conduct intel and reconnaissance, because to put it in layman’s terms, we are royally ticked off about the lockdowns, closures, and ill-repair of 2020-2022. We know it will happen again unless we remain vigilant. We want a free Ottawa for our children and grandchildren and for future generations to come. 

Through this system, if a name appears on your ballot in the general election, you can be certain every which way the questions can be asked or analyzed, that it is the VERY best Republican candidate available in Ottawa County.

Additionally, a Delegate Primary makes the Republican Party relevant again, by holding elected officials accountable to the most active Republicans, who are the precinct delegates. This gives the power back to the delegates, the people who are your neighbors. 

Questions about what the local Party considers a Republican to be? Link here to our recent Resolution passed on February 15, 2024 in a unanimous vote by the Ottawa County Delegation.

For more information about the Precinct Delegate system in the state of Michigan, link to Michigan Precinct First. 

See source material for Open, Closed, and Hybrid Primaries . For information specific to Michigan elections, see Here  

Supplementary/Republican Delegate Primary

Thank you for coming to listen to this podcast in its entirety. Here, you will find further information about how "Moderates' view the Ottawa County Republican Party and why taking the guesswork out of who is running "as a Republican" VS  who really IS a Republican. Below is a 58-minute podcast that includes an interview of Commissioner Roger Bergman and Georgetown Township Trustee, Becky Steele. It was recorded 3 months ago in November of 2023. We hope you'll find it eye-opening. Also, we've put together some interesting moments for you based on the exact clip-time in the audio including our thoughts and commentary, should you rather scroll and listen to the highlights, based on the premise of AS vs IS.

Why is a Conclusive Republican Delegate Primary Necessary?

—Because of the AS vs IS factor

Click on the picture to listen on Youtube


Listen on Apple Podcasts here


6:15—7:00  When I ran for the County Board [BOC] I knew that Ottawa County is a Republican County and that if I wanted to be elected I needed to run as a Republican.

7:44—9:20 …in 2015…the Party started to change …the Patriots came on—this further right group….then …whole thing with Trump…it changed the whole dynamics of the Republican Party…slowly what happened was…it started to swing more and more to the right…since then…two years ago…there were only two [Commissioners] that were going [to Party affiliated Events/Meetings.]

Our Thoughts: Hmmmm. If you stopped going to Party events and meetings over two years ago Commissioner, because you felt convicted by the direction of the Party, why did you run “as a Republican” in 2022? It's a fair question. You could have redeclared as an Independent, since you claim a "moderate" stance as your adherence.

9:45—11:40…  The takeover of the Party—The stealing… —The stolen party—checking the Republican box…when religion, this nationalistic Christianity started to take hold…people used scripture …to weaponize their religion to justify certain things they were advocating for…

Our Thoughts: Restoring the Republican Party back to its original platform places an intentionality on our Judeo-Christian values and the Constitutional priorities of our Country’s founding. Whenever politicians are reminded that our Country was founded on Judeo-Christian principles, also known as scripture that supports freedom, and they also then accuse conservatives of “weaponizing scripture,” they usually identify as Democrats. However, when a Republican does this, they claim to be a "moderate." Of course we know that accusations don’t come from God. Our Founders were not moderates in that sense. Our Founders said, ...Put God’s name on the currency. Let our currency reflect "in God We Trust." Conservative Republicans don’t consider this act by our Founders to be a moderate act to have taken.

On one hand, Bergman calls himself a Christian in this podcast. On the other hand, he refers to Christians as “they” and “them.” We wonder if he means to say that he is a moderate Christian? We're not altogether certain, yet he doesn't speak in a way that suggests he's fan of Judeo-Christian values. As Ottawa County Republicans, we don’t feel there is such a thing as a moderate Christian. There are those who seek the Lord and those who know the Lord, and then there are those who pretend to know the Lord; this last option allows politicians to stay in the grey, squishy middle rather than being locked into a position on an issue. It is the easiest way to get Ottawa County's conservative votes when one isn’t really a Republican.

29:48  I am the figure head for normal People [referring to the center and the left]

29:55  Doug Zylstra and I are working hard [together] to derail some of this stuff.”  

[Emphasis ours. --The “stuff,” being Protecting Childhood Innocencethe Honoring of Veteransand resolving to be a County based on the Constitution of the United States of America]

31:50—32:02  I served on the Board [BOC] for 10 years and we had a normal Board...”

Our Thoughts: We are wondering if “Normal” is considered the masking of schoolchildren in August of 2021 as school began, when Covid numbers were low. This is when of course Commissioner Bergman was Chairman of the BOC and claimed the Board had no authority over the, then Health Director.

These last segments focus on Georgetown Township Trustee, Becky Steele's remarks, further reiterating the need to run "as" a Republican⬇️

34:09: Host asks Becky Steele: Tell me First why you decided to run AS a Republican? Why did you choose to not be a Democrat?

35:27: Steele's Remarks: The problem there, is that the Republican Party is far right.

37:20: The Ottawa County Republican Party isn't looking for someone like me who thinks we shouldn't be censoring books in the library...

38:40: I've been pretty open about it being very hard for me to identify as a Republican anymore...

Our Thoughts: Regarding Becky Steele's remarks: we are glad she is open about the difficulty for her to identify as a Republican. It IS however curious that she claims in the beginning of the podcast that she chose to run "as" a Republican over a Democrat because of her stance on abortion and that she is Pro-Life. It is interesting that she labels the local Party at the same time as being "far right" with disdain, since the Life issue is far and away what earns us that label.

So, as she readily admits it's difficult for her to identify with the Republican Party, we also think it's great that she doesn't have to. She can run as a Democrat or an Independent. It’s okay for her to come out of the closet. If she hates our ideals and can’t identify with them, she can look for another Party whose values she can more align herself with.

The OCRP will be looking for candidates who understand that protecting children in school Districts from viewing obvious porn in the school system endangers children, and that the Censorship of appropriate library materials is an altogether different matter than child endangerment. If this makes the OCRP a radical Party, then we accept the label.

*Township Trustee races do not fall into the category of a Delegate Primary vote and would be an office still voted on by the Public in the primary. However, if Becky is wondering if the Republican Precinct Delegates of Ottawa County would vote for Becky Steele to be on the ballot should she run for Commissioner or a higher office, the answer is very simple. Probably not. *We value children more than we value the lie that clearing porn from a school library is the exact same issue than the issue of censorship for the sake of censorship.

Final thoughts on this podcast: *The Republican Precinct Delegates know the difference between as and is. They know who is running as a Republican vs who actually IS a Republican.


Thank you for choosing to equip yourself with knowledge and Voter Education,


Communications Team

Newsletter Editorial Team

Information Subcommittee

February 29, 2024 




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