Traverse City Record-Eagle

November 1, 2010

Roughly 60% turnout expected

Voters head to polls tomorrow


TRAVERSE CITY — Jobs are a major reason why Seth Halbert will take to the polls on Tuesday.

Halbert, of Traverse City, is employed, but he knows many area residents who don't have a steady paycheck.

"We got no jobs," he said.

Halbert, like many, considers jobs and the sour economy as reasons to vote tomorrow. He remained uncertain Friday as to his gubernatorial choice, but said the new governor will have a difficult road ahead.

"I'm not really sold on anybody," said Halbert, who disagrees with negative campaign advertisements and believes they're off-putting to potential voters. "But it's important for the state, without question."

Halbert plans to make his choices at a local polling site, but many residents also choose to vote absentee. Traverse City officials issued more than 1,500 absentee ballots to registered voters, said city Clerk Debbra Curtiss. About 1,110 absentee ballot were returned by Friday morning, and Curtiss expects many more to come in before Tuesday.

"We still have a chance for more activity," she said.

Gubernatorial elections generally attract more voters than in election years when that office isn't at stake, and Tuesday should be no different, Curtiss said. She expects a similar crowd from the 2006 general election, which generated a roughly 60 percent voter turnout in the city.

Kalkaska Township officials also issued an increased number of absentee ballots for the general election. Officials handed out more than 330 absentee ballots, higher than the average of 200 often sent out for gubernatorial elections, said township Clerk Connie Winter.

"Getting a high number of absentee ballots is a good indication of a heavy turnout," Winter said. "For this to go this high, and I'm still issuing until Monday, that's telling me that people are going to get out and vote."

Kalkaska Township had yet to count how many absentee ballots they received Friday afternoon.

Mary Rosenberg plans to research the candidates before she takes to the polls. Rosenberg, of Peninsula Township in Grand Traverse County, is interested in how candidates plan to tackle the state's struggling economy.

"It's devastating," she said. "We know people who are losing their homes."

Lou Okma won't head to the polls for any specific race, but the Bingham Township resident is anything but apathetic.

"It's just a thing to do," said Okma, a Leelanau County resident. "I would vote anyway, but I think this is more important (because of the gubernatorial race)."

Sandy Van Huystee also foresees a spike in voter turnout, namely because of the gubernatorial race between Republican candidate Rick Snyder and Democratic candidate Virg Bernero.

Van Huystee, Suttons Bay Township clerk, issued nearly 500 absentee ballots for the election — well above average for general elections.