Light turnout at the polls on Tuesday

Alex Doty • Nov 9, 2017 at 8:00 AM

Unlike this past November’s record-setting turnout for the presidential election, in which 73 percent of registered Ottawa County voters showed up, crowds were fairly light at the polls for Tuesday’s local elections.

Unofficial results from the county clerk’s office shows that of the 72,902 registered voters in municipalities that had elections on Tuesday, only 14,152 cast ballots — a turnout of just over 19 percent. Municipalities that had no elections, such as Grand Haven Township, did not factor in the count.

The city of Ferrysburg had a turnout of 38.6 percent. Overall, 972 people out of the city’s 2,518 registered voters cast a ballot Tuesday.

Ferrysburg had contested races for mayor and City Council, as well as several ballot proposals.

“This is the first contested race we’ve had in quite some time,” City Clerk Debbie Wierenga said.

Wierenga noted that even with the turnout being higher than normal, she thought everything ran smoothly at the polls.

“The new equipment worked very well,” she said. “The voter can see the screen and the print is so much bigger.”

Wierenga said the new machines are also a benefit once the polls close at 8 p.m.

“Once we hit ‘close’ on a machine, it automatically sends (the results) to Ottawa County,” she said.

In Grand Haven, voter turnout was just over 22 percent Tuesday. Of the city’s 8,601 registered voters, 1,902 people cast a ballot.

“Turnout was a little more than I anticipated, but not a lot,” City Clerk Linda Browand said. “Usually the local elections, school and local jurisdictions seem to have lower turnout.”

The city of Grand Haven also had contested races for mayor and the council, as well as two Board of Light & Power trustee seats.

Even with the low turnout, like Wierenga, Browand said that everything ran smoothly at the city’s precincts on Tuesday, and she noted that there were no issues with the county’s new voting equipment.

“Everyone seems to like it,” she said.

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