2018-08-12 / Editorial

Strong numbers, strong interest in community

A little more than one-third of Lapeer County’s registered voters cast ballots in Tuesday’s Primary Election. Of the county’s 66,454 registered voters, 22,100 of you (or 33.2 percent) participated in the election.

That’s a pretty good turnout, though Lapeer County Clerk Theresa Spencer would like to see the percentage of voters closer to 75 percent. It was a good election nonetheless, and for that we extend thanks and congratulate those who decided it was important to make a difference in their community.

And Lapeer County voters were in a generous mood. With the exception of the Lapeer District Library that sought a 25-year millage proposal to pay for a new library to replace the aging and landlocked Marguerite deAngeli Library building, all other ballot proposals that sought millage renewals or new money were approved.

Voters also overwhelmingly supported Republican candidate Kevin Daley over his GOP challengers — including Rep. Gary Glenn — to set up a November showdown between the former 82nd House District representative and Democratic Party challenger Cynthia Luczak, the current Bay City clerk. The race for the 31st Senate District seat is open because Sen. Mike Green, R-Mayville is term limited and cannot run again for the privilege to represent the citizens of Lapeer, Tuscola and Bay counties.

“I’m very happy to see 33 percent of the voters cast a ballot. It can and should be higher, but it’s going in the right direction up and we all like to see that, because it means people care and want to get involved in the big decisions in their communities,” said Spencer, who has been monitoring elections in Lapeer County since January 2012.

Voter turnout in primary elections is generally less than general elections, as observed in the November 2016 General Election when an impressive 68 percent of voters in Lapeer County cast a ballot.

Dryden Township Clerk Bonnie Rumley was pleased as well with her community’s voter participation Tuesday. A full ballot that included a millage for police protection services and a sinking fund proposals for Dryden Community Schools as well as countywide and state offices brought out 41 percent (1,554) of the township’s registered voters. “It’s nice to see the strong turnout. It says a lot of people wanted their voice to be heard and their vote to count,” said Rumley.

Strong voter turnout in Tuesday’s primary election in Lapeer County helped Michigan brake records going back at least as far as 1978, a state elections official confirmed Wednesday.

More than 2.1 million votes were cast, and based on still incomplete and unofficial election returns, it appears voter turnout — measured by the percentage of registered voters who cast ballots — was close to 29 percent.

Local clerks and election officials are hopeful the strong voter turnout in the primary will bode well for an equally robust General Election on Nov. 6. It’s a good bet since not only will we in Lapeer County vote for a state House representative, state Senate representative, but we will vote for our next governor and whether to legalize the sale and use of recreational marijuana, among other ballot proposals.

Not only do citizens deserve thanks for getting out to vote Tuesday, but we extend kudos to the 300-plus election workers who put in long hours to work the poll sites. They certainly don’t do it for the pay, but instead serve an important role in our democracy and society as civil servants who make sure our elections go off smoothly and without incident. Without the training and desire by poll workers to serve their community the elective process we largely take for granted in this country would be total chaos. It is not.

Look to today’s INSIGHT section in The County Press for results of Tuesday’s election. If you didn’t vote, you can still make a difference in November. If you’re not registered to vote, make sure you do.

There’s too much at stake to not be engaged.

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