High voter turnout for primary election in St. Clair Shores

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published August 10, 2018

 Signs direct voters to two precincts at Lakeview High School Aug. 7.

Signs direct voters to two precincts at Lakeview High School Aug. 7.

Photo by Kristyne E. Demske

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — Thirty-four percent of registered St. Clair Shores voters cast a ballot Aug. 7, and City Clerk Mary Kotowski said she thought the number of absentee voters was probably the highest she has ever experienced in her career for a primary election.

After voting at Lakeview High School, Susan Teutsch said she was disappointed in the candidates running for office this election cycle.

“The people that are running are absolutely ridiculous,” she said. She said she feels that campaigning has become even more ridiculous since the last election.

Across Macomb County, turnout was 29.9 percent of registered voters.

With 4,187 votes, Attorney General Bill Schuette won the most Republican votes in the race for governor in St. Clair Shores, echoing the decision of the remainder of the state. Democrat Gretchen Whitmer took in 4,696 votes in St. Clair Shores, which also mimicked results across the state. Libertarian Bill Gellneau received 34 votes to make him the top vote-getter in his party for St. Clair Shores.

Unlike in some other cities, Kotowski said that there were a few precincts in the city where they came close to running out of ballots, but they never did. Electronic voter assistance terminals use a blank ballot to record a voter’s choices, so at the precinct where ballots were running low, the office set out a second terminal so that more voters could use the blank ballots.

“We did really well. My workers did an outstanding job,” she said.

Humidity led to some paper jams using the high-speed tabulator at the absentee voter counting board.

“We were having ballots sticking and jamming,” Kotowski said. “I have the best team in the state of Michigan. They do a good job. They make sure we’re accurate.”

She said there were signs up in every voting booth reminding voters not to split their ticket, but the new voting system also alerted voters when they cast their ballot if it had been spoiled so they could fill out a new ballot.

Resident Annemarie Altomare said she appreciated the variety of candidates in this year’s election.

“I think we have strong candidates in this election,” she said after  voting at St. Germaine Catholic School. “I’m pleased with the backgrounds of the candidates I voted for.”

She said she’s not happy with the way things are going and hopes that the candidates actually “fulfill their promises.”

Linda Frabotta, however, said she wished there were more options to choose from.

“I wish we had more variety of candidates,” she said. “I’m tired of the commercials.”

Nevertheless, she said she is “kind of happy with the way things are going.”

The Clerk’s Office also fielded many calls from residents complaining about candidates having signs posted at precincts, which is against city ordinance.

“I was proactive this time. I did send an email to all candidates asking them to follow the city ordinance,” Kotowski said. “That you couldn’t put signage up. They could hold them. They could put them, legally, on a vehicle.”

With a parking lot at Lake Shore High School that was not usable due to inclement weather the day before, the building maintenance department in that district and city Department of Public Works employees worked to make sure voters could still cast ballots in that precinct.

“It really is a huge team effort on election day,” Kotowski said.

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