Voter Turnout in the Aug. 8, 2023 Primary

(Kurt Metzger, Aug. 10, 2023)

Berkley, Clawson, Novi, Southfield, MI – Voters in three school districts and one city had the opportunity to vote in the Aug. 8, 2023 Primary election.  Not many of them did.

The Berkley, Clawson, and Novi school districts chose the dog days of August to ask their residents to approve bond issues. Heavy publicity and signage, combined with relatively low turnouts and high absentee rates, resulted in all three passing easily.

The Berkley School District, asked voters to approve the borrowing not to exceed Eighty-Eight Million Dollars ($88,000,000) which would result in an estimated millage increase of 2.25 mills over the prior year’s levy. The 29.6 percent turnout was the highest of the three district elections, resulting in a 69.1 percent approval. The district includes precincts in Berkley, Huntington Woods and Oak Park. Following typical election turnout results, Huntington Woods voters had the highest turnout rate (38.9%) and Oak Park had the lowest (13.2%). Thirty-two percent of Berkley voters made it to the polls.


The Clawson Public Schools asked voters to approve the borrowing not to exceed Twenty-Five Million, Five Hundred Thousand ($25,500,000) with no resulting millage increase. Just 21.4 percent of registered voters turned out, with turnouts ranging from 18.9 to 24.1 percent across the five precincts. The final approval rate was 57.8 percent.

The Novi Community School District put forth an Operating Millage proposal to allow the school district to levy the number of mills required to be levied to enable the school district to receive its revenue per pupil foundation allowance. This included raising the total limitation on the amount of taxes for operating purposes which may be assessed against all property, except principal residence and other property exempted by law, be increased by 19 mills and against all principal residences, qualified agricultural property, qualified forest property, supportive housing property, property occupied by a public school academy, industrial personal property and commercial personal property by 5.49 mills. Only 17.7 percent of registered voters turned out to approve the proposal, with a 58.4 percent Yes vote. Turnout rates ranged from a low of 9.3 to 25.1 percent across the 12 precincts.

Absentee voting continued to be a very popular option – accounting for 49.8 percent of Berkley votes, 54.2 percent of Clawson votes, and a whopping 80.9 percent of Novi votes.

There was one non-school district election in Southfield – an election to field final candidates to run in November for City Clerk. Turnout was an abysmal 13.1 percent, with the winning candidate receiving votes from 8.6 percent of Southfield’s registered voters.

In the four-way primary race, Janet Jackson got 66.05% of the votes, followed by Gabi Grossbard who got 14.46% of the votes. Jackson and Grossbard will face off in the Nov. 7 election.

Not advancing are Barbara Seldon who got 14.37% of the votes, and Jay Reid who got 5.12%. All of the numbers are unofficial results as of 10:30pm Tuesday.  Results and other election information can be found at the Oakland County Clerk’s website.


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