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Mostly mail-in election nets record turnout among Michigan voters

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson(WJRT)
Published: May. 6, 2020 at 1:57 PM EDT
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(5/6/2020) - A record high percentage of Michigan voters took part in Tuesday's school elections using a mostly mail-in format.

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said turnout reached a record 25% among voters in 33 counties and 200 municipalities who decided 50 questions on the ballot.

The Genesee County, only four school districts passed bond and millage requests:

-- Bentley Community Schools passed a $2.25 million bond with 63% of the vote.

-- Clio Area Schools passed a $40.6 million bond with 52% of the vote.

-- Grand Blanc Community Schools passed an $86.925 million bond with 59% of the vote.

-- Mt. Morris Consolidated Schools passed an $11.2 million bond with 57% of the vote.

Coronavirus restrictions limited in-person voting options. Benson said 99% of the ballots cast for Tuesday's election were mail-in absentee. Only 1,775 ballots out of 180,000 came from in-person voters Tuesday.

“It was a very inspiring day,” she said Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. “And it went even better than expected. Our local election officials deserve tremendous credit for their ability to administer a safe, successful election under unprecedented circumstances."

May elections typically attract an average voter turnout around 12%, Benson said. The previous record May turnout was 23% in 2015, when the state had a proposed gasoline tax increase on the ballot.

Municipal clerks across Michigan requested person protective equipment for their election workers and Benson said all of those requests were granted.

“We have the tools we need to carry out elections that are safe, accurate and secure, and yesterday we saw those tools in action,” she said.

After Tuesday's vote, Benson's attention turns to the August primary and November general elections. She plans to look at data and lessons from Tuesday to determine how voting will take place in the next two elections.

“My top goal is to protect voting rights and the public health, and no matter what August and November look like nationally, we will do both in Michigan,” Benson said.

Any registered Michigan voters can request an absentee ballot to vote by mail for any reason under the state's latest election reform.

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