Voters line up outside a voting precinct at Cheyenne Elementary in Macomb Township Nov. 3.   Lines at this location were longer prior to polls opening, but had dissipated by around 10 a.m.

Voters line up outside a voting precinct at Cheyenne Elementary in Macomb Township Nov. 3. Lines at this location were longer prior to polls opening, but had dissipated by around 10 a.m.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Macomb Township sees record turnout in general election

By: Alex Szwarc | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published November 10, 2020


MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Early voting, absentee ballots, dropboxes, mail-in voting, in-person voting and so on.

There were more voting options than ever for the 2020 general election. So how does the Macomb Township Clerk’s Office assess how the largest voter turnout in township history went?

Macomb Township Clerk Kristi Pozzi said even with all the experience in the office, administering the election was a new experience.

“Trying to manage the numbers, the amount of people coming out to register to vote, the misleading information about voting early, voters took the information differently, so trying to educate voters was a challenge,” she said. “Overall, there were a lot of obstacles to overcome.”

Pozzi said that on Election Day, most municipalities who utilize high-speed tabulators, like the township, encountered some kind of difficulty.

This election, 80.2% of Macomb Township registered voters, or 55,979 residents, cast a ballot. That’s over 10,000 more voters than in the 2016 general election. All ballots were tallied by 8:40 a.m. Nov. 4.

The township processed 33,115 absentee ballots.

Todd Montpas voted in-person the morning of Election Day at Cheyenne Elementary in Macomb Township. Around 10 a.m. Nov. 3, only a couple voters were waiting to get inside, with a wait less than five minutes.

With so many voting options, Montpas said he elected to vote on Election Day because it’s something he’s more comfortable with.

“I think all the hype around it makes it harder to figure it out, so I just came here to get it done,” he said.

Inside the school, Montpas said precautions included spaced out voting booths and pens disposed of after each use.

Vicki Finn also voted in-person on Election Day and said she doesn’t quite trust the other voting options as much as the traditional method of voting.

“Now they’ve extended absent voting where people can vote early, way too early,” she said.

Shannon Finn said she doesn’t mind folks receiving an absentee ballot and returning it to the Clerk’s Office.

“I don’t agree with mail-in voting because there’s such crazed people out there that would put their job on the line to do weird things,” Shannon Finn said.

The Finns agreed that proper precautions were in place to keep voters safe, like plenty of sanitation and mask wearing.

Mary Tessmer voted in person, but not on Election Day. Instead, she filled out a ballot at the Macomb Township Clerk’s Office the day prior.

“The line was very long and I was outside for about 40 minutes and when we got inside, it was almost two hours,” she said. “It was very organized and there was no chaos.”

Tessmer said voting before Election Day wasn’t too terribly different.

“We filled out a form before we got up to the Clerk’s Office, turned that in, they found our ballot and it was put into an envelope,” she said. “I was escorted to one of the voting stations and then put the ballot in a box like we always do.”

From 2016 to 2020, the number of registered voters in the township went from 59,715 to 69,815.

In the 2016 general election, Macomb Township had the third highest percentage of registered voters who cast a ballot in Macomb County, with 75.4%, or 45,022 voters. In the November 2018 election, the voting percentage for the township was 65.4.

Eight years ago, 40,636 residents, or 73.1% of registered township voters, cast a ballot in the 2012 presidential election.

In hindsight, Pozzi said it was amazing to see how many folks voted for the first time and was glad that the Clerk’s Office took part in the process.