Shores primary marked by unusually low voter turnout

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published August 15, 2017

GROSSE POINTE SHORES — Election workers weren’t exactly hearing crickets during the primary Aug. 8, but the election was an unusually quiet one for a community where voters generally turn out in good numbers.

Just over 15.23 percent of the 2,370 registered voters in Michigan House District 1 cast ballots in the special election, whose purpose was to name party candidates to compete in the November general election for the seat vacated by the ousted former state Rep. Brian Banks. Districtwide, the winners were Democrat Tenisha Yancey, Republican Mark Corcoran and Libertarian Gregory Creswell. Creswell ran uncontested and there were only two Republican candidates, but the Democratic side drew a field of 11.

“Turnout was the worst I’ve ever seen,” Shores Election Administrator Tom Krolczyk said.

He blamed the timing. The primary followed the end of the local competitive swim season — hundreds of kids from the Grosse Pointes and St. Clair Shores are on their respective city teams. Krolczyk said many families are taking a last vacation of the summer now, before school is back in session.

“August is tough,” he said.

In the heavily Republican Shores, Corcoran was the top vote-getter, with 95 votes in his favor, according to unofficial vote tallies available at press time. William Phillips, the other Republican candidate, received 20 votes.

On the Democratic side, Pamela M. Sossi was the leader in the Shores, with 140 votes. Sandra Bucciero was the second-highest vote-getter, with 40 ballots cast in her favor. Yancey was third with 16 votes. All of the remaining eight Democratic candidates received anywhere from zero to eight votes apiece.

Those who did make the trek to the polls on the pleasantly warm, sunny day cited civic duty and the significant role played by local officeholders as motivating factors.

“I just think it’s important, especially at the local level, to vote for people who impact our lives,” said Shores voter Russell Gretkierewicz.

Shores voter Robert Spada agreed.

“We never miss voting,” he said. “Voting is important.”

New voting machines, which were rolled out throughout Wayne County for communities that had primary races, worked well. Krolczyk said it was time for the old equipment to be replaced. He praised the new equipment.

“It’s actually very user friendly,” Krolczyk said.

City management intern Yuliya Harris, who was working as an election inspector for the primary, concurred.

“It’s easy to use, efficient,” she said of the new equipment.

And because the machines aren’t online, they don’t run the risk of being hacked. Krolczyk said the voting data is transmitted over a secure cellular communications line.