Inside and outside of Oakland

Oakland County voter turnout expected to top statewide projection

  Voter turnout in Oakland County on election day Tuesday is expected to as high as 65 percent, lower than it was in 2008 but higher than the 59.75 percent turnout in the last gubernatorial election four years ago.

  Oakland County turnout is projected to be considerably higher than the statewide projected turnout of 52 percent, possibly because there are local dogs in the political fight for statewide offices.
  Oakland County Clerk Ruth Johnson is on the ballot for secretary of state against Democrat Jocelyn Benson, and Oakland Circuit Judge Denise Langford Morris is on the ballot for Michigan Supreme Court.
  Voters are also picking a new governor, attorney general, members of Congress, state representatives, state senators, county commissioners and local school and municipal officeholders.
  There are also a number of tax questions on the ballot.
  "I suspect turnout will probably be around 62 to 65 percent," said Joe Rozell, Oakland County Director of Elections.
  "What we're seeing is the number of absentee ballots that have been issued is down from 2008," Rozell said. "In 2008, a record number of people voted by absentee.
  "We're not seeing a lot of absentee requests," he said. "Maybe more people will vote at the polls this election rather than 2008."
  Rozell said that absentee ballots that have been issued are being returned at a considerably slower pace than two years ago.
  "We don't know if voters haven't made their minds up yet or not planning to return their ballots at all," Rozell said.
  Absentee ballots have to be returned by 8 p.m. on election day when the polls close.
  Statewide, Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land estimates 3.8 million people will cast ballots this Tuesday, down slightly from the record number that cast ballots in the 2006 gubernatorial election.
Polls will be open Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  Aside from the statewide races, there are a number of races to watch on Tuesday.
  In the 9th Congressional District, U.S. Rep. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township, is facing a strong challenge from Republican Rocky Raczkowski.
Republicans are trying to reclaim seats they lost in the 2008 election.
  In state legislative races, the District 39 seat representing West Bloomfield and Commerce townships and held by Democrat Lisa Brown is something of a bellwether for political sentiment. Brown faces Republican Lois Shulman this year.
  There is also an open probate court seat on the ballot pitting Dana Hathaway against Kathleen Ryan.
Voters are also picking three trustees for Oakland Community College from a large field, and voting on 25 county commission seats.
  On the county commission, there are 12 Republicans and 12 Democrats with one vacancy. As many as four seats could be in play as both parties target races. Democrats want to pick up enough seats to take control of the county board. Republicans want to pad the 13-12 majority they came away with in 2008.
  Contact Charles Crumm at 248-745-4649, or follow him on Twitter @crummc.

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