ROSEVILLE/EASTPOINTE — Residents in Eastpointe and Roseville were lined up and ready to vote when the polls opened at 7 a.m. for the presidential election Nov. 6.
The last of the lines seemed to die down by noon, but precincts across the two-city area remained busy with a steady flow of traffic throughout the afternoon and into the evening. Voter turnout was 58.9 percent in Roseville and 63.7 percent in Eastpointe — about average for a presidential election.
“It was a little bit higher four years ago, but it was a pretty good turnout,” said Eastpointe City Manager Steve Duchane.
In Roseville, voters re-elected long-time resident Harold Haugh to serve another two-year term in the state House.
“I’m feeling very good,” Haugh said the morning after the election. “Entering into a new district, picking up half of Warren, I was very pleased with the outcome of the election.”
Haugh previously represented Roseville, Eastpointe and part of Warren.
Running on the Democratic ticket, Haugh won the District 18 seat, which covers all of Roseville and part of Warren, with 70.4 percent or 24,073 votes — 10,326 in Warren and 13,747 votes in Roseville. Running on the Republican ticket, Art Blundell raked in a total of 10,126 votes — 5,168 in Warren and 4,958 in Roseville.
Blundell could not be reached before press time.
Haugh said he plans on continuing his agenda using his expertise to work on fixing issues with the tax system in Michigan — fighting against the taxing of seniors’ pensions and on working to move the state forward.
“I have a unique combination of experience, with 42 years in the private sector with General Motors and 36 years as an elected public official,” he said. “I feel that gives me a unique perspective on what Michigan needs to move forward.”
In Eastpointe, long-time resident Veronica Klinefelt was elected to a two-year term on the Macomb County Board of Commissioners.
Voters in both communities expressed civic pride in voting.
“I do it every year and have since I’ve been able to vote,” said Roseville resident Brian Blottie, 34, at Precinct 10 at Roseville Middle School. “I feel like it’s everyone’s right, but also everyone’s obligation to be part of the process. It was really good. Especially around here — they do a really good job of getting people in and out.”
Eastpointe voter Marletta Fair shared similar sentiments after she voted at Precinct 5 in the Michigan Military Museum. But she added that, given the historical struggles on voters’ rights, she felt it was her responsibility to vote. “I’m a woman and I’m an African-American and I think that women and African-Americans did a lot to get the right to vote, so we should get out there and do it. I’ve voted in every election since I was 18.”
“We should exercise our right to vote to have things go the way we want in a democracy,” said 43-year-old Roseville resident Scott Steemburg after voting at Precinct 6 in the recreation center. “It was a real smooth process today.”
Neither city reported any issues at the polls and both had ballots tallied and numbers posted within hours of the polls closing.
Roseville City Clerk Rich Steenland worked tirelessly before Election Day to make sure all precincts would run efficiently — even printing handouts with descriptions of each ballot proposal that voters could read in line and double-checking that all absentee ballots were received.
In the weeks approaching the election, Steenland responded to a larger-than-normal volume of callers reporting that they hadn’t received an absentee ballot. He sent postcards to absentee voters to ensure that everyone who wanted to vote could, trying to thwart the potential issue before it became a problem.
“We mailed out the postcards and got a great response,” Steenland said. “We had a lot of people indicating that they did receive their ballot, but they just hadn’t made up their mind yet. Within a couple days, we were very comfortable that we were back on track.
“We had some concerns early on but everything worked out great. The post office was wonderful in working with us, and in the end, everyone who requested an absentee ballot received one.”
On Election Day, Steenland reported that 97-98 percent of absentee ballots were received by the time the polls closed at 8 p.m. He said the return was even higher than it was four years ago, when they received about 96 percent.
“You never get 100 percent back,” Steenland said. “And that’s fine; a lot of people change their mind. My primary concern was making sure that everyone who requested an absentee ballot received one, and we were successful in that.”
Residents who opted to head to their local precinct, and poll workers who staffed those precincts, reported a successful Election Day, as well.
“It’s been very smooth,” said Daniel Wieczorek, Roseville’s Precinct 10 co-chair. “The voters seem happy, and we haven’t had any problems.”
Experienced poll workers like Wieczorek were on hand at each precinct in Roseville. Eastpointe had a mix of experienced and not-so-experienced workers this election.
“It’s been very interesting,” said 18-year-old Chantiaria Williams, an Eastpointe resident who was inspired by her grandma — a government teacher — to work the election. “It’s been a good experience, though. I’ll probably be here next year, too.”
Detroit Jesuit High School students were working the polls in Eastpointe, as well. Government and theology teacher Peter Hayden encouraged them to sign up as part of their American politics class.
“They wanted to see how democracy works first hand, and this is great experience for them to do that,” Hayden said.