Hooray for high voter turnout on Tuesday, now comes Nov.
Residents were motivated this week to vote.
In primary battles in a number of states across the U.S., voter turnout was significant. Certainly that was true both locally and in Michigan, where a new record of a 27 percent turnout was set. The previous turnout record of 24.4 percent was set in 1982.
This week, 6,729 registered voters in Alpena County, or 29.1 percent, came out to vote, said County Clerk Bonnie Friedrichs in a news story earlier this week. That was the highest percentage of county voters in a midterm election in quite some time.
Let’s put that in perspective this morning.
During the first primary midterm election of President Barack Obama’s presidency in August of 2010, Alpena County records show voter turnout was 23.9 percent in the primary. During the second midterm primary election of his presidency in 2014, the turnout in August was only 18.61 percent.
During presidential years, voter turnout is traditionally higher. In the 2016 presidential primary that was held March 8, 29.2 percent turned out at the polls, just one-tenth of a percentage greater than the turnout this week. And when you remember how crowded and contested that primary was for both major parties and their presidential candidates, it makes this week’s numbers all the more significant.
And Alpena County was by no means unique. The same turnout percentages were being seen in other Northeast Michigan counties as well. In Montmorency County 33.6 percent of the electorate voted Tuesday, in Presque Isle County, 37.2 percent voted, while in Alcona County, 37 percent turned out.
We hope this voter enthusiasm continues a few months from now in November. It’s great to see voters engaged again.