(Kurt Metzger, Pleasant Ridge Reelected Mayor, Nov. 8, 2017)
Pleasant Ridge, MI – It has become tradition that Crystal Proxmire and I review voter turnout rates after each election. While yesterday’s election was considered an off-year election (odd numbered years), the fact that many communities were voting on mayors, council members, and millage proposals would lead me to hope for a relatively high turnout. Unfortunately, with minor exceptions, this was not the case.
Before I get to the results, allow me to add my two cents on voter registration rolls. State policies, that make the deletion of persons from the roles rather difficult, often result in inflated registration rolls and lower than actual turnout rates. In order to illustrate this fact, I selected several communities and compared the estimate of the voting age population (using the 2011-15 American Community Survey, 5-year sample) with the number of registered voters. The table below shows the results. I would love to have input from both the Oakland County Clerk and the clerks of the individual communities as to their efforts to “clean” the voter files.
Now that I have that off my chest, let us get on to the results. As you can see from the chart below, turnout rates ranged from a high of 44.2 percent in Pleasant Ridge (in spite of inflated roles) to a low of 9.8 percent in Birmingham. I want to make sure to thank all the voters of Pleasant Ridge for coming out yesterday and making us Number 1!
I cannot speak for residents in the other communities, but would like to ask the vast majority of voters who did not turn out (the countywide turnout was only 19.9 percent) why, when you have the opportunity to have a say in your local politics, you chose to stay quiet? I certainly understand that the national rhetoric has poisoned the electoral process, but these are your neighbors running to represent you! This is community engagement in its most basic form.
As a volunteer pubic official who just won a second 4-year term, I ask for your input. What is it going to take to get you non-voters to the polls?