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Kalamazoo election offices preparing for higher voter turnout in local election than years past

Voting
Posted at 5:10 PM, May 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-18 21:51:06-04

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — With record voter turnout in Kalamazoo County last November, both the city and county election offices are already prepping for the upcoming fall election.

While the numbers of voters casting their ballots continue to rise, Kalamazoo County Clerk Meredith Place said this past special election in May had a record turnout of 17%. Place said she's expecting those numbers to continue in the upcoming local election.

"Last November, we saw a record turnout. Over 65 percent turnout across Kalamazoo County, which was more than we have ever seen in Kalamazoo County," said Kalamazoo County Clerk & Register of Deeds Meredith Place.

With just six months left until November's local election, election offices are already preparing.

While local elections don't generally see as many people as presidential ones, the Kalamazoo County clerk said she thinks they'll see more than in years past.

"We know that because we just had our May special election, and we saw a turnout of almost 17 percent," said Place.

In the previous local election year, the City of Kalamazoo also saw more people come out to vote.

Place said she believes it was due to Prop 3 allowing same-day voter registration and no-excuse absentee voting.

"Voter turnout in 2019 of November of last year, which is the like year that we are going to see this year. We saw turnout in the city of Kalamazoo of upwards of 18 percent," said Place.

With that record number from last November in the general election, the Kalamazoo City mayor said he's hoping more people realize how important any election is, and how just a few votes can impact the outcome.

"I am hoping for that same engagement and desire and interest carries over into local elections. As you know, most local elections have a much-reduced turnout from national elections, but this is where we live. This is what we should care about," said Kalamazoo Mayor David Anderson.

Mayor Anderson said he also believes the city will see more voter turnout this year than what they've seen in past municipal elections because they are making it easier for people to vote.

"Extended hours, satellite sites, drop boxes, putting postage on mail-in ballots. Two-thirds of folks voted absentee in our last election, so making all of that possible," said Anderson.

The election will take place Tuesday, Nov. 2. You can vote in person or by absentee ballot through the mail or at your local clerk's office.

Click here for deadlines you need to be aware of if you plan on voting.

RELATED: Kalamazoo mayor announces re-election campaign

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