KALAMAZOO COUNTY, Mich. — Tuesday marks Special Election Day across West Michigan, and voters in Kalamazoo County braved the rain to go out and cast their ballots.
Polling places opened at 7 a.m.
Kalamazoo County Clerk Meredith Place said it's normal to see less of a turnout in a special election.
Voters saw a couple items on their ballots in Kalamazoo County, the first including a countywide law enforcement-and-safety-millage renewal that has been in effect since 1980.
It supports countywide services like the Kalamazoo County Sheriff's Office, Prosecutor's Office, Office of Corrections, Circuit Court, District Court and even animal services.
If passed, it would renew for another six years through 2028.
Also on the ballot are school bond proposals including a record-breaking bond request for Kalamazoo Public Schools. They are requesting nearly $200 million in a bond proposal.
That 25-year bond, if passed, would help build a new elementary school and fund other facility improvements like security upgrades and air conditioning.
Also on Kalamazoo County ballots are funding requests from other area schools like Comstock, Gull Lake, Climax-Scotts and Vicksburg.
Kalamazoo County Clerk & Register of Deeds Meredith Place said despite these big items, May elections and November elections look different when it comes to turnout.
"Generally speaking, we are in the low teens with turnout compared to a November presidential election. We are looking over 60%. We don’t typically see a high turnout in these May special elections," said Kalamazoo County Clerk & Register of Deeds Meredith Place.
Place said last year in 2021 during the May election, Kalamazoo County saw 16% voter turnout while November saw 19%.
Compared to the 2020 presidential election, 66% of voters in the county turned out for that.
"I would just remind folks that while we see a lower turnout in special elections, special elections are pivotal to our democracy, right? Voting is fundamental, and this is your opportunity to voice your opinion. Don’t miss the opportunity. Get out and vote," said Place.
Polls across West Michigan are open until 8 p.m.