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Portage voters are on track for a historic turnout

Portage Polling Location
Posted at 5:29 PM, Nov 03, 2020

PORTAGE, Mich. — Voters in Portage are on track to break turnout records with half of registered voters voting absentee ahead of Election Day.

At the polls, election officials said they saw a steady flow all day.

The city of Portage said they have around 40,000 registered voters, and 20,000 of those voters already returned their ballots by mail.

Many people though still came to the polls, and some of those people voting for the very first time.

"This is my first time voting. I’m excited," said Kathey Wildig, a first time voter.

Kathey Wildig said coming out to the polls was a last minute decision, but she knew it was an important year to cast her ballot.

"I think it’s amazing with everything that’s going on right now. I think my vote will help out a little bit," said Wildig.

Michael Barnes felt the same way only ever voting in one other election in his lifetime.

"Eight years ago. It was never really important to me you know? I figured whatever is going to happen is going to happen anyway. I think this time it was important for me to get out. Maybe some things will change but who knows?," said Michael Barnes, a second time voter.

The former clerk for the city of Portage said about 80% of the population is registered to vote. This year, they're looking at a record number of ballots cast.

"We have about 40,000 registered voters in the city of Portage. Around 20,000 of those have vote absentee, so we’re looking at a 50% turnout right there alone. Given the volume that we’ve seen in the precincts, I think we are looking towards a historic turnout with today’s election," said the City of Portage Deputy City Manager and Former City Clerk Adam Herringa.

Herringa said with that being said, voters, of course, shouldn't expect to hear results right away.

"Voting in the precincts ends at 8 o’clock. That’s as they usually do. Usually they are reporting by 9 or 10 o’clock at night. Counting the absentee ballots, it’s three times than what we’d normally see in an election so that’s what is going to take us a little bit of time to process," said Herringa.

Herringa said while they often see a spike in voter registrations before elections, this year was a little bit higher than what they've seen in the past.