Saginaw County clerk expects record voter turnout on Tuesday

Published: Nov. 3, 2020 at 7:53 PM EST
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SAGINAW COUNTY, Mich. (WJRT) - Nearly 80,000 voters came out to cast a ballot in person around Saginaw County during the 2016 presidential election.

County Clerk Mike Hanley expects to exceed that and shatter Saginaw County’s voter turnout records on Tuesday.

The county has about 156,000 registered voters, which is down slightly from 2016. Local clerks around the county passed out nearly 50,000 absentee ballots and received nearly all of them back before Election Day, Hanley said.

A polling location in Birch Run reported a 45-minute wait Tuesday morning. Hanley said that wasn’t unreasonable given the COVID-19 precautions in place and increased voter engagement this fall.

A lot of communities around Saginaw County have local issues and races on this year’s ballot. They include a $100 million bond proposal to overhaul the Saginaw Public Schools district.

The other major ballot request is a first of its kind millage request to prevent funding cuts for the Saginaw County Health Department and make sure it remains equipped with tools to continue its role in fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the health department, that money would allow them to operate up to two mobile units that health workers would use for everything from COVID-19 testing to flu shots. It would also provide money to hire an epidemiologist and a team of nurses for disease surveillance -- coronavirus and more than 100 other diseases.

While coronavirus brought these requests to the forefront and exposed that need, what the health department plans to do seems to extend well beyond that. Increased lab testing and enhanced communication with the public also factor into the plans.

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