A look at local voter turnout for the Michigan primary

NOW: A look at local voter turnout for the Michigan primary

BERRIEN COUNTY, Mich. -- Slow and steady was the trend for Michigan polls for the primary election. 

According to Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, more than one million voters took advantage of early voting and absentee ballot ahead of Tuesday’s presidential primary.

So local polls weren’t too busy, and election workers say voters might not have felt a sense of urgency for this race.

“It’s just been a slow, steady stream of voters,” says Audrey Lester, Berrien County Democratic Party Voter Protection Group Co-Chair.

For the leaders of the Berrien County Democratic Party Voter Protection Group, a slow day at the polls means Michigan voters took advantage of a new-found convenience, nine days of early voting and easier access to absentee ballots.

“We have given people a lot more options to vote, so really, very few people could have a reason not to other than they chose not to,” says Melissa Clapper, Berrien County Democratic Party Voter Protection Group Co-Chair.

These options for voters are something new to the mitten state, and so was the date of Tuesday's primary election, falling a few weeks earlier than normal.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer says moving up the primary was done to ensure Michigan voices make an impact, meanwhile Clapper says low voter turnout could be blamed on how voters feel about this year’s race itself.

“There might have been, I don’t want to say less enthusiasm, less of maybe a necessity to go out and put your voice out there,” Clapper says.

She says as most voters envision a repeat of the 2020 election and feel their vote in the primary won’t make a difference, it's more than just the names on the ballot, but the issues they stand for, namely a topic many voters are interested in now, the wars happening overseas.

“Even if the same two people were to run again, things change constantly,” Lester explains. “The world’s different, unfortunately we have two wars going on that bring a focus to this.”

As the primary ballots get counted Tuesday night, Clapper hopes every Michigander will continue to exercise their right to vote in the year’s coming elections, state and local included.

“Everyone has the same goal, making voting available and accessible to everyone,” Clapper says.

The Berrien County GOP was not able to accommodate an interview for this story.

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