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Wednesday, March 13,2013

Turnout

Lansing area clerks say voter numbers looking a lot like ‘08

by Sam Inglot
Grace Lutheran Church in Lansing\'s 4th Ward. Sam Inglot/City Pulse

Tuesday, Nov. 6 — Yes, it’s Election Day. Today signifies the end of political ads, robo calls and campaign mailers. Will we all wake up tomorrow with a new president? What will happen to the Red Cedar Golf Course? And will Matty Moroun keep his bridge monopoly? 


While we won’t know those answers until later this evening — or possibly tomorrow — we know that thousands of voters have taken to the polls already. From what clerks in the area have said, things are looking similar to the 2008 presidential election.


Lansing City Clerk Chris Swope said he expects between 50,000 and 55,000 voters this election, counting people at the polls and absentee ballots. This year, Swope said 10,081 absentee ballots were sent out. He said the stream of traffic at the polls has been steady and spread out throughout the day, and there haven’t been any major breakdowns or problems at any of the 43 precincts.


In Lansing Township, the absentee ballot count was up by 10 this year, making the total for the township at 829, said Township Clerk Susan Aten.


“I know we’ve had a steady line most of the day,” she said. “I haven’t heard of any excessive waits.” She said there had been a few snags at some of the precincts, but nothing significant.


“I’m expecting numbers like we had in 2008 and that was a big turnout. I would expect that we would have that,” she said. “I know it’s been busy.”


In Delhi Township, where the election season has been more contentious than the past, Clerk Evan Hope said he thought the absentee ballot numbers would be up more than they already are.


He said he sent out “a little over 3,700” absentee ballots, which is up about 300 from the 2008 election. “I was actually expecting more,” he said.


In terms of the six polling locations, Hope said they’ve been “really busy” with long lines in the morning and it’s been steady ever since. He said he had one voting machine go down and he had to swap it out for a new one.


Ingham County Clerk Mike Bryanton and East Lansing City Clerk Marie McKenna could not be reached for comment.


At Lansing polling locations, the times that people have had to wait vary. At the old armory on South Washington Avenue, the time in and out for voters was fairly quick — five to 20 minutes on average, Swope said. However, the voters at Grace Lutheran Church had to brave the cold for hours while waiting to vote.


Chuck and Rebecca Hallman said they live across the street from the church, which is on the corner of Lapeer Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. They had to wait for over an hour when they got in line at 9:30 a.m. They said the line stretched outside the church, past the parking lot and down the sidewalk. A long line had formed at 6:00 a.m. even before poll workers had showed up, they said.

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