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For every Michigan voter, three sat out the primaries

Where have all the voters gone?

Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land announced that nearly 1.7 million voters cast ballots in Tuesday’s primary, based on unofficial returns.

“I would like to thank everyone who took the time to cast a ballot,” said Land, Michigan’s chief election officer. “Turnout mirrored our projection of nearly 1.7 million registered voters casting ballots. I expect many more voters to cast ballots in the Nov. 2 general election and my department will continue to encourage residents to register and then vote.”

Tuesday’s turnout reflects 22.9 percent of Michigan’s 7.2 million registered voters. An analysis of county level turnout[1] (no city results are available yet) found it ranged from a high of 41.8 percent in Leelanau County to a low of 10.8 percent in Menominee County.

Among counties in the Detroit metropolitan area, Oakland County led the pack at 26.5 percent, followed by Livingston (26.0%), Lapeer (25.4%) and St. Clair (24.8%).  Macomb and Washtenaw were the only others to surpass 20 percent.  At the bottom of the pack were Wayne (18.0%), Monroe (18.0%), Lenawee (18.5%) and Genesee (18.6%).

While we do not have ‘official” results from Detroit as of yet, the forecast prior to the election was for a 12-15 percent turnout.  All indications are that the forecast was “on the money.”

The statewide results represent the highest turnout for a primary since 2002’s 23.3 percent, and the third highest since 1978. But that’s nothing to brag about. Because so many districts have been gerrymandered to be dominated by one party, primaries often determine the outcome of the general elections. That means that less than a quarter of the voting public (and many times less than that) are deciding who gets elected throughout Michigan.

This is a VERY SAD commentary on the voting process.  Whether voting is considered a civic duty or a privilege of citizenship, Americans continue to FAIL THE TEST.


[1] Turnout totals were calculated using 2009 Census estimates of county populations 18 years and over.  While the author realizes that not all persons 18 years and over are eligible to vote – particularly non-citizens – and that a small percentage does not register, these figures represent the best estimates possible at the current time.