Single-Digit Turnout, Six-Figure Price Tag

By: Tony Tagliavia Email
By: Tony Tagliavia Email

Just more than seven percent of registered voters in the city of Lansing made it to the polls Tuesday.

The process cost the city about $45,000.

"So about $7 a vote," Lansing City Clerk Chris Swope calculates.

The turnout in Eaton County wasn't much bigger.

"Twelve percent," according to county Clerk Fran Fuller. Fuller says the county budgeted about $60,000 for the primaries.

She admits that turnout was low, even for an August election. So if summer vote turnouts are always low, why couldn't the countywide Medical Care Facility millage wait until fall?

"There was a time frame that the county had to work with and this was the election," Fuller told News 10.

That's because once the county found out the expansion could happen, it was too late to get it on the May ballot. And construction couldn't have started when it needs to if the millage appeared on November's ballot.

In Lansing, a proposal allowing the city to potentially sell some riverfront land had a time-sensitive element as well.

But in the future, Ingham County Clerk Mike Bryanton says he thinks the city ought to consider following East Lansing's lead and get rid of primary elections.

"In these fiscal times all of us -- county government, city government, township government, school districts -- have to look at ways of saving money any way that we can," Bryanton said.

It's not his decision to make. It's not Swope's either.

The city clerk is not taking sides but he says primaries do some good. They narrow the field of candidates and the turnout isn't always so low.

"We've seen it as high as 19 percent when there's a hotly-contested mayor's race," Swope said.

But this year it was less than half that.

Ultimately, getting rid of the primaries would require a putting a proposal on the ballot.

The general election is Tues., Nov. 6.


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  • by David Location: Charlotte on Aug 9, 2007 at 10:26 AM
    This is pathetic 12 % in eaton county makes me sick that pepol dont vote when they can Thats one way these millage proposals get passed because pepol dont vote I vote every time I can and I never vote to raise my taxes And then pepol wine that there taxes are to high 12% of all pepol of eaton making a choice for the rest of us now that they got there expantion mony the next thing is operating costs that will probaly be put on the backs of home owners too I agree to have elections only two times a year in the fall and in the summer that will save mony on the state end and maybee more pepol will vote Ive allways thought that voting should be mandatory fine pepol that dont vote 100 $ and see what kind of turn out you get there is no excuse for not voting the polls are open 13 hours its all over the TV and in the paper so its not like pepol arent informed the less you vote the less you have to say what goes on in your naborhood and state so vote when you can and have a say
  • by Mark Location: Jackson on Aug 9, 2007 at 09:36 AM
    No matter what the results or the items on the ballets, it does shows who the real Americans are. They showed up to show they love this country and willing to show their true patriotism. Most Americans should be ashame for their lack of enthusiasm compared to the citizens of Iraq. For the ability to vote, the citizens of Iraq want to display what freedom mean and what patriotism mean for their country. Some risking life and safety. Others traveling over 24 hours in each direction to vote. They have over 50 percent turnout for most elections and they do not have polling stations within 10 miles of their home or the simplicity of absentee voting. Those Americans who did not vote should be ashame.
  • by Danielle Location: Jackson on Aug 9, 2007 at 04:44 AM
    Government waste at its finest.
  • by Ken Location: Charlotte on Aug 8, 2007 at 09:21 PM
    All elections relating to taxes, including millage elections should take place during the November General elections. How do we increase voting in November? Easy, move Tax Day from April 15th to November to coincide with the General Election. Just having your pocket picked will be a great motivation to bring people out to vote.
  • by Pam Location: Jackson on Aug 8, 2007 at 08:32 PM
    It cost Jackson as much to decide on one issue. The ballot issue could have waited until november.
  • by Kate Location: Lansing on Aug 8, 2007 at 08:10 PM
    Exercising your constitutional rights? What price? Remember the "poll tax", Literacay tests? Um. this is the 21st century? Sorry, dollars have no place in this conversation. period.
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