2018-08-09 / Front Page

Leelanau turns out for Primary Election

44% get to polls
By Amy Hubbell
Of The Enterprise staff

HAVING JUST cast their ballots at Suttons Bay Public School, voters heading home Tuesday morning included, from left, Tom and Mary Nixon, and Eumi and Bob Martinson. — Photo by Eric Carlson HAVING JUST cast their ballots at Suttons Bay Public School, voters heading home Tuesday morning included, from left, Tom and Mary Nixon, and Eumi and Bob Martinson. — Photo by Eric Carlson Statewide voter turnout was a whopping 27 percent Tuesday — the highest participation in a Primary election since at least 1978.

But as usual, Leelanau County put that to shame with a just over 44 percent of the 19,625 registered participating.

“We always have great voter turnout in Leelanau County,” chief deputy Clerk Jennifer Zywicki said. “It doesn’t surprise me at all.”

Among the county’s 11 townships, Empire Township set the pace with 589 of its 1,175 registered voters casting ballots. That’s better than half of the registered voters.

“We started at 7 a.m. and were non-stop busy until 1 p.m.,” Clerk Chris Neiswonger said. Empire edged out Glen Arbor Township, which traditionally leads the county in turnout — but not by much. Some 434 of the 878 registered voters in Glen Arbor cast ballots, or a little over 49 percent.

Neither community had millage requests or other local proposals on the ballot.

“Folks wanting to vote is always a good thing,” Neiswonger said.

Residents in Elmwood Township had a fire millage on the ballot. they turned out in big numbers Tuesday.

Some 49.8 percent of the registered voters in Elmwood’s Precinct 1 cast ballots. Precinct 2 came in right behind at 48.2 percent.

Precinct 1 encompasses the area south of Cherry Bend Road. Precinct 2 is north of Cherry Bend.

Leelanau Township, which had extra-voted millage on the ballot that helped to bring in just shy of 50 percent turnout.

Some 988 of the township’s 2,099 voted in person or by absentee ballot.

There were no millage requests on the ballot in Leland Township. Still, voter turnout was respectable with 883 of the township’s 1,904 registered voters participating.

To the south, Suttons Bay Township also had a showing of 44.3 of its 2,522 registered voters casting ballots.

In Bingham Township, where some residents helped approve a bond request for Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS), 42.5 percent of voters participated.

TCAPS’ $100 million bond proposal passed easily.

Voters in Centerville and Solon Townships were asked to approve extra-voted millage for fire and rescue services.

Some 40 percent of Centerville’s 1,056 registered voters cast ballots.

Cleveland and Kasson Townships had turnouts of 39.5 and 36.4, respectively.

Solon Township residents were not nearly as active as only 539 of its registered 1,352 voters participated. That’s 28.5 percent.

While respectable, this week’s county wide turnout pales in comparison to that recorded during presidential elections in 2004, 2008 and 2012.

In 2012, Leelanau voters participated in the General Election at a rate of 73 percent — among the highest percentages in the state.

Four townships boasted voter participation figures above 70 percent or more.

Turnout for General Elections in 2004 and 2008 was 78.2 percent and 77.4 percent, respectively.

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