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Nearly 19% turned out for Washtenaw County's Nov. 2nd elections. More in-person voting than expected


It turned out to be a late night counting the results of Tuesday's elections in Washtenaw County. WEMU's Lisa Barry talked with Washtenaw County director of elections Ed Golembiewski in the early morning hours of Wednesday, November 3rd to get the results.

Lisa Barry: Residents in several different Washtenaw County communities voted on a number of different issues Tuesday. I'm Lisa Barry, and joining us now on eighty nine one WEMU to talk about the results early Wednesday morning is Washtenaw County director of elections Ed Golembiewski. Thanks for joining us.

Ed Golembiewski
Credit Lisa Barry / 89.1 WEMU
89.1 WEMU
Washtenaw County director of elections Ed Golembiewski

Ed Golembiewski: Oh, thanks for having me, Lisa.

Lisa Barry: Did it turn out to be a long night for you counting the ballots? 

Ed Golembiewski: Yes. So, we are now fully reported. All of the unofficial election results have been reported in Washtenaw County. And what we have seen is turnout at about eighteen point six percent, which equates to twenty nine thousand one hundred eighty four ballots cast out of a total of one hundred and fifty six thousand registered voters that had an item on the ballot to vote on. 

Lisa Barry: How does that compare to elections? I guess this is an off-year election. Would you call it that? 

Ed Golembiewski: Yeah, you could call it an off-year election.

Lisa Barry: And how does that voter turnout compare to what you usually see? 

Ed Golembiewski: Well, this actually compares pretty favorably. This is a slight increase, certainly over comparable elections, and that's driven in large part by an increase in the number of voters who are opting to cast an absentee ballot. Many voters over the course of the last year have opted to join their city or township permanent absent voter list, which provides them with an application to obtain an absentee ballot prior to every election, which they can choose to return if they'd like to. And we did see quite a quite a large number of voters voting by absentee ballot during this election. 

Lisa Barry: Before the election, you were kind enough to talk to us here on WEMU, and you were expecting absentee ballots to be about 85 percent. Did it turn out that way? 

Ed Golembiewski: We actually were quite, uh, quite pleasantly surprised, I suppose, with a large in-person turnout, at least relative to the the size or type and contents of the election. And we ended up seeing that absentee ballots accounted for about 66 percent of all ballots cast. 

Lisa Barry: So that's a quite a bit lower than what you were expecting. 

Ed Golembiewski: It is a bit lower, but again, this is, you know, the statistics here are showing that more voters decided to vote in-person today than we had expected. 

Lisa Barry: And I know you're always proud about how Washtenaw County counts their votes. How is that done? 

Ed Golembiewski: Oh, well, you know, reports are now readily available on the Washtenaw County website at Washtenaw dot org slash Elections. We are pleased to have reported 100 percent of precincts here and closed out a long day in the early hours of Wednesday. 

Lisa Barry: Any issues at the polls? 

Ed Golembiewski: None significant. Every election brings its share of hiccups, and, certainly, we had to deal with a couple of them, but none that really rose to any sort of serious concern. 

Lisa Barry: Can we go over some of the results? There were four ballot proposals in Ann Arbor. I understand those were all overwhelmingly approved? 

Ed Golembiewski: That's correct, yes. Each was overwhelmingly approved in the 70 or upper 60 percentile range. 

Lisa Barry: And Ann Arbor voters approved ranked choice voting, right?

Ed Golembiewski: Yes, there was a charter amendment to implement ranked choice voting in the city of Ann Arbor when it becomes enabled by state law, and, at present, it would take legislative action for ranked choice voting to be implemented in the city of Ann Arbor. 

Lisa Barry: Do you think that's happening anytime close? 

Ed Golembiewski: Well, it's entirely dependent on the will of the Legislature. And, you know, I don't want to predict what the Legislature might do, but it certainly doesn't appear to be immediately imminent. 

Lisa Barry: Right. Pittsfield Township millage back on the ballot six months after it was defeated, and I understand that was approved this time around? 

Ed Golembiewski: That's true. Voters in Pittsfield Township approved the public safety proposal at 55 percent in favor and 45 against.

Lisa Barry: So that was a bit closer. 

Ed Golembiewski: It was. Yes, indeed. 

Lisa Barry: And we have some mayoral races you can give us the results of? 

Ed Golembiewski: Yes, in the city of Chelsea, Jane Pacheco has been elected as the city's mayor. In the city of Milan, Edward Kolar was elected. 

Lisa Barry: Any other races you want to share results with us?

Ed Golembiewski: In the city of Chelsea, there was a City Council election as well. Tony Ianelli, Christine Mehuron, and Bill Ruddock have won election there. And in Milan, Joshua P. Kofflin, Christian Thompson and Shannon Dare Wayne have been elected. And in the city of Saline, Kevin J. Camero-Sulak, John J. Ceo Jr. and Jim Dell'Orco have been elected. 

Lisa Barry: Washtenaw County director of elections Ed Golembiewski. Thank you so much for giving our listeners up to the minute, early morning election results here on 89 one WEMU. Now go get some sleep. 

Ed Golembiewski: Thank you very much. 

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— Lisa Barry is the host of All Things Considered on WEMU. You can contact Lisa at 734.487.3363, on Twitter @LisaWEMU, or email her at lbarryma@emich.edu

Lisa Barry was a reporter, and host of All Things Considered on 89.1 WEMU.
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