OSCEOLA COUNTY — With all the brouhaha surrounding Iowa caucuses, and primary election voting in New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Florida, (to date!), it seems far too easy for Michigan voters to forget they will also be called on soon to cast ballots in the states primary.

The Michigan Primary will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 28, this year. The usual polling places will be open in each district in Osceola County. There are no new developments or changes in polling locations.

Michigan’s Primary Election is only a few weeks away, and voting officials are convinced this state could have a pivotal role in choosing who will be on the presidential ballot in 2012.

“In conferences and meetings I’ve been attending, there is a lot of talk about what could happen if there is one result in Florida, and another result elsewhere,” reported Osceola County Clerk Karen Bluhm.

“As things tighten up in the Republican primary race, a lot of people I deal with regarding election issues are saying we — the voters of Michigan — could have a substantial say in who is the Republican candidate in November.

“We tend to pay a lot of attention to what other people are doing, and forget that each and every one of us has an important right and responsibility in primary voting as well as in the general election.”

Bluhm noted that she recognized there were still many, many people who believe primary voting is just for specific party members - and not necessarily for the general public.

“This year, people going to the polls to vote in the primary will need to declare party affiliation,” she said.

“But to think that this voting is limited to registered Democratic or Republican party members is mistaken.

“Anyone can, and should be very carefully considering who they want to see on the November ballot, and expressing that opinion in the primary polling.

“Every registered voter can take part in primary voting.”

On the Feb. 28 ballot, voters will see a long list of potential GOP candidates on the ballot.

Don’t be confused.

Some of these are unknowns. Some of the better knowns are already out of the race.

Declared Republicans voters will be able to choose from (in alphabetical order), Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Gary Johnson, Fred Karger, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Buddy Roemer, Mitt Romney, and Rick Santorum.

On the Democratic side of the ballot there is only incumbent President Barack Obama.

In a new development, when lining up at the polls this year, voters will be asked to declare they are, indeed, citizens of the United States.

“They also will need to ask for either a Republican or Democratic ballot,” noted Bluhm. “There is no legal obligation for them to vote in the General Election in November the same way they voted in the February primary,” she pointed out.

“Whatever the case, this primary may well be considerably more important for the GOP ballot in November than what some voters may think.

“The tight Republican race could be determined by how Michigan voters lean.

“Folks should take this into consideration and get out to vote on Feb. 28.”

There are no local issues on the ballot this time around.

Voting will be only for primary candidates for the job of President of the United States.