Voter turnout near presidential election numbers

MANISTEE — The Manistee County Board of Canvassers has completed its tally of the results of the Nov. 8 election.

Jill Nowak, Manistee County clerk, said there was a significant increase in voter turnout this year, with 62.73 percent of registered voters casting their ballots this year.

“It’s quite high, it’s normally what we see around a presidential general election,” she said. “Usually what we see for this election is around 47 to 48 percent.”

Nowak said they predicted a higher turnout due to the number of absentee ballots submitted.

“It gives us an idea of what we’ll see for an election, and other clerks from the area said their counts were up too,” she explained. “All of the clerks said they had a lot of new voters, including younger populations and some older first-timers they hadn’t seen before.”

Nowak credits the statewide proposals and open seats as part of the reason for an increased turnout.

“This is the first time in a long time that we had the attorney general, the secretary of state and the governor races all open, with no incumbents coming back,” she said. “Those are very important positions and that brought people out.”

Overall, Nowak felt the election went smoothly.

“We had a few glitches opening a couple of precincts with the equipment, but it was nothing we couldn’t handle,” she said. “You just have to fix it and move on.”

Although the official results are in, there is still work to be done.

“It takes a lot of people to pull off an election, and we start to prepare a few months ahead of time even though it’s a one day event,” she explained. “We’re still working on it, the board of canvassers just recently finished and now we’re working on our reports and certificates for all the candidates that are reporting to the state and local municipalities.”

There were a number of write-in candidates elected in local positions this year, and Nowak said the candidates had a specific process to follow in order to be counted.

“People that want to file as a write-in have to file a declaration of intent, then it’s up to them to inform the voters that they are running as a write-in candidate,” she said. “We always get names written in that are not declared candidates, so those we don’t count. You may see 20 write-ins but if none of those people filed they are illegitimate.”

The Arcadia Township Parks Commissioner seat had two seats open, with two candidates who filed for write-in status.

Thomas Farnsworth received 18 votes, and Thomas Wass had 8 votes.

In the Village of Bear Lake, no one filed to have their name on the ballot for the president position, but Marla Evans ran uncontested as a write-in candidate, and Ray Franz was elected president of the Village of Onekama under the same circumstances.

There were several vacancies for Eastlake Village trustee seats, and two candidates filed for write-in status in addition to the two candidates already on the ballot who had no party affiliation.

Robert Banicki received 16 votes as a write-in candidate, and Joni Krolczyk received 14. Sue Adamski was on the ballot and received 148 votes, along with Eleanor DeYoung who received 124 votes.

There were also several school board candidates throughout the county who were on the ballot under write-in status.

“We have a couple townships that did not fill all of their positions, and I think we have a couple school boards and villages that are also short,” said Nowak. “Their boards and councils will have to appoint persons to fill those roles for the remainder of the term.”

The official election results can be found at www.manisteecountymi.gov.

More than 4.3 million voters cast ballots in Michigan’s midterm election, the highest turnout rate in 56 years.

Statewide, about 55 percent of the voting-age population participated, according to an Associated Press analysis of unofficial returns. Only the 1962 midterm drew higher turnout. The state has records dating back 70 years.

The turnout percentage even equaled or surpassed levels in the 1996 and 1988 presidential races. Higher-than-usual absentee voting had signaled the increased voter interest across the state.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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