LANSING (MIRS News) – Voter turnout in the 2019 municipal election was higher in eight of 14 highly-populated Michigan counties, as reported by county clerks and when compared to the past three odd-year elections.

For example, among Wayne County municipalities with Tuesday elections, 23.01% of voters showed up to vote, better than the 17.33% of 2017, 16.47% of 2015 or the 21.88% of 2013.

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Macomb, Kent, Washtenaw, Ottawa, Grand Traverse, Van Buren and Livingston counties also reported higher voter turnout than the November elections held in 2017, 2015 and 2013. The Michigan Democratic Party and a sympathetic Super PAC known as Priorities USA spent money or made efforts this past weekend to drive new voters to the polls.

Fueled by the flexibility of last year’s Proposal 3, which allowed for non-reason absentee voting and same-day voting registration, the general idea of the drive was to condition mostly younger voters to the idea of voting so it becomes a habit by next November’s General Election).

According to Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, 2,000 Michiganders registered within 14 days of the Nov. 5 election, something that would not have been able to do before the “Promote the Vote” constitutional amendment. Of those 1,131 registered to vote on Election Day.

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“I am excited to see such great new participation in our democracy,” Benson said. “My office will continue to work with our Bureau of Elections and clerks across the state to ensure voters are educated on and able to take advantage of their new rights.”

Benson reported that one-third of those registering on Election Day were 18-21 years old and more than half were 30 or younger. Of the 1,131, 100 were 60 or older.

The higher turnout, however, was not universal.

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Interestingly, Genesee County, Kalamazoo County and Jackson County turnout, where contentious mayors’ election headlined the ballot in Flint, Kalamazoo and Jackson, respectfully, voting participation was down from prior odd-year elections.

In Ingham County, turnout was better in 2017 when Lansing’s open mayor’s race brought in 20% turnout. Only 16.23% showed up this year. The turnout numbers reported were as followed:

Oakland County – 19.90%  2017 (19.85%) 2015 (21.13%) 2013 (18.89%)
Macomb County – 22.51% 2017 (18.6%) 2015 (15.9%) 2013 (22.2%)
Wayne County – 23.01% 2017 (17.33%) 2015 (16.47%) 2013 (21.88%)
Genesee County – 13.21% 2017 (17.43%) 2015 (15.83%) 2013 (12.53%)
Kent County – 20.56% 2017 (unreported) 2015 (14.46%) 2013 (13.43%)
Washtenaw Co. – 21.18% 2017 (18.96%) 2015 (12.29%) 2013 (13.25%)
Ottawa County – 22.5% 2017 (19.41%) 2015 (16.46%) 2013 (14.39%)
Ingham County – 16.23% 2017 (20.07%) 2015 (23.33%) 2013 (11.91%)
Kalamazoo County – 17.9% 2017 (16.51%) 2015 (18.47%) 2013 (11.80%)
Grand Trav. Co. – 32.15% 2017 (25.34%) 2015 (28.89%) 2013 (26.12%)
Livingston Co. – 19.31% 2017 (10.27%) 2015 (16.16%) 2013 (18.90%)
Jackson County – 17.33% 2017 (18.52%) 2015 (15.31%) 2013 (18.36%)
Marquette County – 17.15% 2017 (32.96%) 2015 (11.12%) 2013 (none)
Van Buren County – 24.1% 2017 (19.59%) 2015 (10.29%) 2013 (13.99%)

Meanwhile, Michigan Democratic Party (MDP) Chair Lavora Barnes said the MDP would continue to work on voter turnout. That said, she said she saw significant wins in Tuesday’s results for her camp. 

The Dems flipped both chambers in Virginia, showing the state and country that “voters thoroughly rejected (President Donald) Trump’s broken promises and embraces the Democratic Party’s positive vision for the future.”

Barnes noted in Michigan, Livonia residents voted in the city’s first female mayor, Maureen Miller Brosnan, riding a 44.6% voter turnout surge, and Sterling Heights flipped two council seats to Democrats — both areas Trump won in 2016.

“These wins came from an unprecedented effort by the Michigan party to build a statewide organization that’s been putting boots on the ground and knuckles on the doors for months,” Barnes said. “. . . The message with these elections is clear: Our voters are fired up and we’re channeling that passion into action. The Republican brand is toxic and with the strength of our organization and the investments we’ll continue to make, I’m confident Michigan will be going blue again in 2020.”

In related news, Emgage, an entity designed to mobilize Muslim Americans to vote, heralded the election of Dave Abdallah, Ray Muscat and Lisa Hicks-Clayton to the Dearborn Heights City Council. Emgage said it made 17,000 get out the vote calls in Michigan in advance of the election.

Also, the Sierra Club announced today two of its endorsed candidates — Michael Fournier and Wendy Pate — won their elections Tuesday. Fournier was elected mayor of Royal Oak. Pate was elected to Trenton City Council.

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