Voter turnout at E.L. locations varies
Visit The State News’ primary election blog throughout Tuesday night for updates about Michigan’s various primary elections.
Update 8:00 p.m.
Polls are closed. Continue to check statenews.com for election results.
Update 6:52 p.m.
Look for updates from various gubernatorial candidates’ watch parties across the state, including Attorney General Mike Cox, U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Holland, Ann Arbor businessman Rick Snyder, Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero and state House Speaker Andy Dillon, D-Redford.
Although campus voting locations reported very low turnout throughout Tuesday’s primary election voting, some area locations saw a surge in voters casting their ballots.
Voter turnout at the Hannah Community Center, 819 Abbot Road, exceeded typical primary election turnout expectations, organizers said.
Sue Richardson, who has chaired election proceedings in East Lansing for more than 15 years, said the number of candidates seeking the Republican gubernatorial nomination is one of many factors driving people to the polls.
“This one has been extremely busy and it’s just a primary,” Richardson said. “People come in before work, during lunch, after work.”
Other locations, though, saw less people and more down time.
After more than eight hours of open voting polls on Tuesday, only about three people had stopped at Butterfield Hall to vote in the 2010 primary election, said Sally Burroughs, chair of Precinct 1, in line with standard results at local voting locations.
“For this type of election, where most of the people registered are students who are out of town, (the turnout is) probably typical,” Burroughs said.
Autumn Carter, a food industry management senior, voted at Butterfield Hall for Democratic gubernatorial candidate and Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero.
“I feel like it’s important to vote and know who’s running for governor and have your voice heard,” Carter said.
The general sentiment among her peers was being unaware that the primaries were even occurring, Carter said.
“It’s not as big as a presidential election, so a lot of students didn’t know about it,” she said.
However, at The Peoples Church, 200 W. Grand River Ave., the Precinct 2 voting location, there was a steady stream of voters. Chair Robert Ulrich of East Lansing said he had to call the East Lansing City Hall for more ballots.
“It’s the governor’s election,” Ulrich said. “The vast majority that are here today are voting for the governor.”
If voters chose to write in a candidate, the ballot was shot back out of the voting machine and then counted by hand. Ulrich said he had observed many write-ins and had to empty to the box that was collecting them.
The consistent string of voters can be attributed to the tight race among the five Republican gubernatorial candidates, Ulrich said.
“People are seeing that their votes are going to make a difference,” he said.
MSU alumna Arleigh Savage described Bernero and fellow Democratic candidate Michigan Speaker of the House Andy Dillon, D-Redford, as “polar opposites” in terms of their values and said she voted to show her strong support of Bernero.
“I was just really impressed by the different things he supported — worker unions, the gay community and women’s issues,” Savage said.
Although Savage said she does not think many students will vote because of the nature of primaries, she said the elections are crucial.
“It’s a really important time in the state’s democratic history and getting strong candidates on the ballot,” Savage said.