Voter turnout reported light in state, region

MARQUETTE – While Keweenaw County may have the fewest registered voters of any county in Michigan, voter turnout there was the highest in the Upper Peninsula in Tuesday’s primary elections at 33.4 percent.

Across the U.P., voter turnout was considered low for the primary elections, ranging from Keweenaw County’s high to a low of 9.5 percent in Menominee County.

Typically, mid-term elections – which do not include a presidential election – and especially primary elections, are notorious for low voter turnout.

However, Keweenaw County Clerk Julie Carlson said Eagle Harbor Township voters traditionally help keep that county’s voter turnout totals higher than in other areas.

“One township we have always rates in the 50 percent range and that bring us up,” Carlson said. “They’re just a close community there and they stick together. They always have.”

Carlson said a road commission race and a ballot proposal for road funding, which had not been sought for several years, may have also contributed to Keweenaw County’s high turnout rate.

According to numbers compiled by the Michigan Secretary of State’s Office, there were a total of 231,551 registered voters in the U.P. for Tuesday’s primary election.

The counties with the most registered voters included Marquette County with 49,141, Delta County with 28,988 and Chippewa County with 23,784. Keweenaw County had the fewest registered voters in Michigan with 1,926.

Across the region, places like Delta and Chippewa counties, with contested primary races for state Senate and House, saw higher turnout percentages.

The U.P. turnout percentage totals were Alger, 17.3; Baraga,16.3; Chippewa, 22.9; Delta, 23.8; Dickinson, 14.5; Gogebic, 11.8; Houghton, 11.5; Iron, 18.3; Keweenaw, 33.4; Luce, 19.1; Mackinac, 24.1; Marquette, 16.7; Menominee, 9.5; Ontonagon, 15.5 and Schoolcraft, 15.8.

Wayne County had the highest number of registered voters in the state with 1.3 million. Turnout there during Tuesday’s primary elections was 17.6 percent.

John Pepin can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206.