Voter turnout falls short for Marquette County

Kayla Miller

Marquette County had more registered voters in 2016 than in recent election cycles, but the number of voters who actually cast their ballots did not reflect the same increase.

re-graphhhIn this year’s election, the county had 52,620 registered voters compared to the 49,902 who registered during the 2008 race between President Barack Obama and Senator John
McCain. This year’s election had 33,501 votes cast which was less than the 33,624 votes from 2008.

The election, although with less turnout than 2008, did result in long lines and waiting for voters to cast their ballots.

At the YMCA polling station, voters faced a 2-hour wait on Tuesday evening.

“This is the busiest I’ve ever seen,” voter Christina Bennett, 35, said. “It’s really cool to see people waiting that long—getting out and voting.”

Before election day arrived, a push for students to register to vote and encouragement from college political groups led to a large number of voter applications processed. During the three months before this year’s voter registration deadline of Oct. 11, the Marquette City Clerk’s Office processed 1,724 applications.

While the majority of the applications came from a push to register NMU students by campus political groups, some of the applications could also be people who are already
registered and may not realize it, or may have possibly registered a second time due to a change of address, said Deputy Clerk Kyle Whitney.

This year’s roughly 1,700 applications processed is an increase from both the 674 new registrations in the 2015 election and the 1,204 applications processed before the 2012 presidential election.

While this year has seen an increase in the number of new voters, the push for voter registration in 2008 during the race between Obama and McCain was highest among years analyzed. The clerk’s office reported having processed 2,362 applications.

The increase in voter registration was again attributed to the large push for NMU student registration, Whitney said.