Millions spent on campaigning

Alex Doty • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:48 AM

Nearly $93 million has been raised by proponents of Michigan's six ballot proposals. About $590,000 has been raised in Ottawa County alone for the presidential election, with nearly $17 million being raised statewide for the two major-party candidates.

Those big numbers are expected to lead to a big turnout at the polls today.

“People are going to have to be patient and be prepared to stand in line,” Grand Haven City Clerk Linda Schmidt said.

Schmidt recommends voters be as informed as possible prior to coming to the polling locations in order to make sure the process goes as smooth as possible.

Schmidt said her staff has been preparing for the big day by training election workers and making sure the city’s four polling locations are ready.

The big voter turnout began before today. Schmidt said more than 1,400 absentee ballots have been distributed to Grand Haven voters, with 1,300 returned as of Monday.

“It looks like it’s similar to 2008,” she said regarding the absentee voter participation rate.

Ferrysburg City Clerk Debbie Wierenga is also expecting a large voter turnout. She said presidential elections in recent years have been in the 70-80 percent range.

“We have put up twice as many booths as normal to give that much more space for people to vote,” she said. “We’re expecting an 80 percent turnout.”

Clerks and poll workers have gone through extensive training to make sure they are prepared for the onslaught of voters, as well as some new rules and regulations. Wierenga said the changes involve details in proof of citizenship.

“We can no longer ask if you’re a U.S. citizen," she said. "That question has been taken off of all materials.”

Another change involves voters no longer being required to present photo identification before picking up an absentee ballot.

The polls opened at 7 this morning and close at 8 p.m.

Check grandhaventribune.com often tonight for regular updates on the election results. Complete results and stories on the elections will be published in Wednesday's Tribune.

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