Local voters wait to cast their ballots, choose races

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Farmington Press | Published November 14, 2012

FARMINGTON/FARMINGTON HILLS — It was a busy day in both communities Nov. 6 as residents poured into the polls and, in some locations, waited for more than two hours in Farmington Hills, and as much as an hour at a precinct in Farmington, to cast their votes in the presidential election and other local races.

According to Farmington Hills Clerk Pamela Smith, the voter turnout was impressive at all of the precinct locations, with the peak coming in the earlier hours on Election Day.

“It was very busy,” said Smith. “It was a good turnout — almost 75 percent (of registered voters), so that was very good.”

Smith said the long lines that some voters encountered at a few polling locations could be attributed to impressive voter turnout, combined with the fact that many of the voters coincidentally came to vote at the same time.

Farmington Clerk Sue Halberstadt said Election Day was very successful, with a turnout of 76.4 percent of registered voters.

“It went incredibly well. We had a few glitches as far as a few people who have never voted before, but you expect that in the presidential (election).”

Even at peak times, Farmington voters didn’t have much of a wait at the polls, according to Halberstadt, who said the success of the day can be attributed to the poll workers.

“We did have somewhat of a wait in the morning. Precinct 6 had an hour wait, but that’s the longest anyone had to wait,” she said. “Our workers did a great job, and they did a great job of making sure they checked photo ID and all of that important stuff. It worked — everything worked.”

In all, 35,344 residents from both municipalities voted on Election Day, in addition to 17,353 absentee ballots. Nearly all of the absentee ballots were received before Nov. 6.

Farmington Hills and Farmington residents agreed with the majority of American voters in choosing to re-elect President Barack Obama. In Farmington Hills, Obama took 26,351 votes (59 percent) while challenger Mitt Romney received 17,784 votes (39.9 percent). In Farmington, Obama won with 57.1 percent (3,370 votes) while Romney took 42 percent (2,471 votes).

On a more local level, three-time Democratic Congressman Gary Peters landed the 14th District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. In Farmington Hills, voters agreed that Peters should take the seat, giving him 63.8 percent of the vote, while Republican John Hauler took 33.4 percent. In Farmington, Democrat Syed Taj received the most votes for the 11th District seat in the U.S. House with 55.2 percent of the vote (3,073) versus Republican Kerry Bentivolio’s 2,243 votes (40.3 percent). Though Taj took Farmington, he lost the race overall to Bentivolio, who won the seat with 181,796 votes. Taj received 158,889.

Incumbent state Rep. Vicki Barnett, D-Farmington Hills, won out against Republican challenger Bruce Lilley in the race for the 37th District seat in the state House of Representatives. She received 61.6 percent of the vote in Farmington Hills (26,291votes) while Lilley took 37.4 percent (15,983 votes). Barnett won in Farmington by a slightly slimmer margin with 57.6 percent, versus Lilley’s 41.85 percent. Results from the countywide vote yielded a similar outcome.

All three incumbent candidates for Oakland County Commissioner in Districts 13, 14 and 21 were able to keep their seats. In District 13, Democrat Marcia Gershenson received 19,432 votes (64 percent) to keep her seat over Republican Al Zaparackas, who got 10,728 votes (35.3 percent) in Oakland County. In District 14, Republican Bill Dwyer beat challenger Todd Stearn with 52.1 percent of the vote across the county (16,740 votes). Stearn received 15,288 votes (47.5 percent). And in District 21, Democrat Janet Jackson grabbed  91.4 percent of the vote in Oakland County (25,009 votes) to keep her seat, while Libertarian challenger Dick Gach took 8.1 percent (2,212 votes).