Michigan county clerks lament low voter turnout in May elections

Published: May. 2, 2023 at 6:12 PM EDT
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JACKSON, Mich. (WILX) - May elections, for local bonds and millages, typically have much-smaller turnouts compared to fall elections.

County Clerks estimate that the May 2 election brings in about 40% few people in comparison to the November elections.

Related: Special elections coming next week across mid-Michigan Counties

Voters in Jackson are deciding whether or not to renew a county-wide school millage. Not many voters came out, which is not uncommon.

“So far we are looking at about 11% turnout,” said Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum. “And we know that based on the absentee ballots that have been turned in already.”

The Jackson County Clerk estimates they’ve received a little more than 12,000 absentee ballots for the Tuesday election, which means roughly 7.5% of Jackson’s population voted absentee.

In previous years, May elections in Jackson only brought in 15-20% of voters, compared to about 50% turnout for Jackson’s 2022 midterm election.

The millage in Jackson impacts all Jackson County Schools and property taxes, meaning it has the potential to impact almost everyone.

“I think all voting is important,” said voted Craig Wykoff. “I mean people complain about how things are going in the world and everything but then they don’t vote and I don’t understand that thought process.”

Wykoff said he was saddened by the lack of voter turnout in his community. He was the 18th voter across two separate precincts Tuesday after the polls had been open for about six hours.

“Well, it’s unfortunate that all of the qualified registered voters are not actively participating in the elections that affect them,” Byrum said. “And I think when they don’t participate, they’re just not having their voice heard and that’s really unfortunate.”

Polling stations will close at 8 p.m. Tuesday. You can find election results here.


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