Voter Turnout by City, Numbers Metzger Calls Disappointing
(Pleasant Ridge Mayor and Data Expert Kurt Metzger, Aug. 11, 2020)
Pleasant Ridge, MI – I am SO disappointed in Tuesday’s election. The vast majority of my selections in Oakland County were victorious, so I have no problem there.
My problem is with the turnout. Every registered voter received an application for a mail-in ballot. It was a very easy process to complete the application and a ballot showed up sometime later in the mail. The instructions were easy to understand and return envelopes were either postage paid by your local clerk, or easily dropped off at a city hall or one of the many drop boxes paid for and set up by the Michigan Secretary of State.
Rather than go through all the procedures (thanks to the ACLU, NAACP, League of Women Voters and Voters Not Politicians) that were put into place to facilitate voting, after the successful Nov 2018 election, let me cut to the chase.
The Secretary of State reported a record 2.5 million votes for an August Primary, representing about one-third of the electorate. A whole 1/3 of all Michigan registered voters participated and we are celebrating? Oakland County, with one of the highest educational attainment rates in the state, had an Aug. 4, 2020 turnout rate of only 37.1 percent! In August 2018, before these procedures were put in place, the turnout was 34.4 percent!
Ten communities came in below 33 percent, as did 116 of the county’s 505 precincts. The chart below shows the rates for all cities and townships (villages are not separately reported). The winners and losers were consistent with previous elections. Five communities, led by Huntington Woods (highest Census response as well), surpassed a 50 percent turnout. And at the opposite end of the spectrum are six communities that fell below 30 percent, with Pontiac’s 19.4 percent turnout being the lowest. Pontiac accounted for 11 of the 15 lowest turnout precincts in the county.
What does it take to get folks out there? While I can understand all the reasons given – particularly disgust and apathy with many of our current legislators and institutions, the right to vote is still the opportunity we are granted to make change. Especially now with no reason absentee voting there is NO REASON not to be part of the process.