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Posted on Thu, Nov 8, 2012 : 5:58 a.m.

A quick glance at how Washtenaw County voters cast their ballots in Tuesday's election

By Ryan J. Stanton

The motto throughout the state of Michigan on Tuesday was "just say no." At least, that's how the vote went on six statewide ballot proposals, including five constitutional amendments.

But how did the votes fall in locally?

Washtenaw County voters went along with the rest of state in voting down every proposal except for Proposal 3, which, if it had passed, would have set a renewable energy standard of 25 percent by 2025 for all Michigan electric utilities.

About 51.7 percent of Washtenaw County voters were in favor of Proposal 3. In the city of Ann Arbor, about 63.5 percent of voters came out in favor of it.

Unofficial election results show 64.5 percent of the county's 280,548 registered voters cast ballots in Tuesday's election. More precisely, that means 181,032 people voted.


How Washtenaw County voters decided on six statewide ballot proposals.

That's 57,360 more than the number of people who voted here in the 2010 gubernatorial election, but it's about 7,178 less than the number from in the 2008 presidential election.

Arguably that means there was less interest in this year's presidential race. People just weren't as excited as they were four years ago, and local election officials predicted that.

Democratic President Barack Obama took 67 percent of the countywide vote, with 31.3 percent going to Republican Mitt Romney and lesser amounts going to third-party candidates. In Ann Arbor, Obama took 79.2 percent.

A total of 81,684 people — representing nearly half of all ballots cast — voted straight-ticket. Of those, 69.2 percent went Democratic and 29 percent went Republican.

Only 652 people voted straight Libertarian, while 437 voted straight Green Party, 140 people voted straight U.S. Taxpayers and 109 people voted straight Natural Law.

U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., won 69 percent of the countywide vote over Republican Pete Hoekstra as she cruised to victory in Michigan.

U.S. Rep. John Dingell, D-Dearborn, pulled 75 percent of the vote in the portions of Washtenaw County he represents, including Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, and was re-elected.

About 63.5 percent of all votes cast countywide in the University of Michigan regents race, in which there were two seats open, went to the two Democrats: Mark Bernstein and Shauna Ryder Diggs.

About 52.3 percent of voters in Washtenaw County came out against Proposal 1, which would have kept Michigan's controversial emergency manager law if it passed. It was more soundly rejected in Ann Arbor, where about 57.5 percent of voters came out against it.

Proposals 2 and 4, both of which dealt with collective bargaining rights, failed in Washtenaw County with more than 51 percent of voters against them. Proposals 2 and 4 actually had support in Ann Arbor with 56.2 percent and 54.5 percent of the vote, respectively.

The last two proposals came nowhere near close to passing muster with Washtenaw County voters. Those are Proposals 5 and 6, which were constitutional amendments aimed at stopping future tax increases and blocking a new bridge from Detroit to Canada, respectively.

About 72.7 percent of Washtenaw County voters came out against Proposal 5 and 68.9 percent voted down Proposal 6. In Ann Arbor there was even stronger opposition — about 79.5 percent of voters said no to Proposal 5 and 76.7 percent rejected Proposal 6.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.



Fri, Nov 9, 2012 : 2:09 a.m.

I am very disapointed by the results (except proposals 1 & 3) and somewhat chagrinned by the fact that my candidate failed to clinch popular victory. The Nobody candidate voted in by the non-voters. I was hoping for that democatic process walkout-vote to send a clear message to the politicians - of both parties - you do not represent us any more. But alas, we are still but a minority movement and the majority is now responsible for their choice until the next election. Proposal 1 result beat back totalitarian rule. 2-5 were constructed to lose or had to be writen by an outsourced ad agency from another planet. 6 was a secret test of the coming rule by electronic plebiscite when our rep Nobody finally wins. And to prevent the new bridge carrying supertanker trucks of Canadian tar sand goop to Bay City for refining making Michigan only the second most poluted state next to texas (I'll bet you thought tjat was about some selfish rich guy trying to buy the public, hah!).

Terry Star21

Thu, Nov 8, 2012 : 9:19 p.m.

Todays headlines; Stock Market loses nearly 500 points in two days, Social Security is running out of money, coorporations, businesses, people brace for presidents taxes, nearly half of Americans are embarassed/angered by the election results......... The media tells us the majority of votes for the president were from women, blacks and hispanics. A sad reminder that it was a popularity contest, and not one to improve the sad state of America the last four years and to begin to improve that damage. Result; another penal sentencing of 'four more year's with no hope of recovery.


Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 5:44 p.m.

Brad Look how much the market increased when Romney was nominated. It went through the roof. It dropped the day Obama was elected. Business has no confidence in Obama. Business confidence is half the ball game.


Fri, Nov 9, 2012 : 7:53 a.m.

At the two retorts - Terry is right-. Majority of the voters expect something for nothing. and THEN the other guy to carry the burden. You may have won the battler, buy YOU have lost the war. Pretty soon you will have to pay the piper, and heaven help you with the responsible hard working tax payers are long gone. Good luck finding another beast of burden, I am going on strike and joining the 47% . You can take care of my healt care and my internet connecction. I am done paying my fair share


Fri, Nov 9, 2012 : 4:27 a.m.

So we should just allow White Men to vote? Umm...that was outlawed decades ago when Women won the right to vote on August 26, 1920 with the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. GET OVER IT!


Thu, Nov 8, 2012 : 10:04 p.m.

Yep, you just can't trust those women, blacks and hispanics with the vote, eh? They just vote for who is most popular. Certainly Mitt didn't suffer from that problem. And the stock market (DJIA) is up over 40% since Obama took office.


Thu, Nov 8, 2012 : 6:22 p.m.

I feel bad for Obama having to clean up the mess of the last administration....Oh wait that was him.


Fri, Nov 9, 2012 : 1:50 a.m.

You got that right but 4 years later and not having done a dang thing he wants to blame Bush. Obama never wants to take responsibility for his own failures. He did get a lot of people to buy into it. Livingston county got it right. Too bad rest of the country was not paying as much attention. Our kids will be paying for this for years. Possibly our grand kids.

Terry Star21

Thu, Nov 8, 2012 : 9:21 p.m.

That is sooooooo correct !


Thu, Nov 8, 2012 : 8 p.m.

You mean the mess of the last cycle of conservative politicians who actively held our country hostage just so they could regain control? It's okay though, I know you live in a dark, sad, and scary world with your other batsh** crazy friends who fear change, facts, and real common sense.


Thu, Nov 8, 2012 : 4:37 p.m.

It would be interesting to see what a person with a degree in Political Science or Cultural Anthropology has to say about these results. But of course, neither area of study is given the slightest thought, so that would be an article skipped over by most people. Likewise, the study of body language has been very helpful in determining any person's true feelings while they're talking (as in giving a political speech). Body language plays the larger role vs speech when it comes to determining motive - but instead, political ads are overwhelmingly the favorite means of communicating used by both parties. There's a reason for that. The proposals: some were purposely worded to confuse voters: a "yes" vote meant the proposal would not be adopted / implemented. When you see that kind of "care" given to a proposal, you can be sure the motive isn't a good one when it comes to your own best interest. If anything, it's getting harder for everyone to make good voting decisions and that's not a good sign.


Thu, Nov 8, 2012 : 3:54 p.m.

You guys elected Mark Bernstein. HA.... thats funny.


Thu, Nov 8, 2012 : 3:06 p.m.

Uh Ryan? I think you need to take a look at Prop 3. Prop 3 did not pass yet you make it look like it did. No proposal passed.. Needs to be reversed. Had to take a look at yesterdays read to be sure.


Thu, Nov 8, 2012 : 3:19 p.m.

Slow down and actually read the article. He didn't say it passed. His stats were for Washtenaw County only.


Thu, Nov 8, 2012 : 3:01 p.m.

This data reinforces in my mind that straight-ticket voting should be eliminated as an option. It makes some results foregone conclusions, and most likely reduces the attention paid by the voter to local races, especially in an election cycle with large national implications. It also increases the likelihood that voters skip the non-partisan section altogether. Both major parties would oppose this, of course, because they benefit from a blind check-box approach. As voters increasingly disassociate from political party affiliations, it becomes a way for the party machines to maintain their power and influence.

John Floyd

Fri, Nov 9, 2012 : 6:31 a.m.

Stu makes a valid point about convenience, but I think Brimble's point that the straight-ticket option results in foregone conclusions is a stronger argument for dis-allowing ticket voting.


Thu, Nov 8, 2012 : 8:07 p.m.

I'm not sure ridding ourselves of straight ticket voting is the answer. Some people philosophically fall along party lines and it is a convenient way for them to vote and keep the lines moving. My ballot was mixed, I supported mostly Democrats, as well as Greens, Libertarians, and a few Republican-backed non-partisans. I simply think it is important to reiterate the importance of looking up the candidates through Mlive's voter guide, local newspapers, and the secretary of state to see who falls in line with your beliefs. Sometimes you get lucky and find candidates did not fulfill some of the things you wanted (or carried out actions contrary to your beliefs) and the other candidate spoke directly to this issue (which caused me to vote for a libertarian over a dem in one race).


Thu, Nov 8, 2012 : 2:09 p.m.

Whereas nearby Livingston County was 66% for Romney. What a difference 20 miles makes. Well, that and having a county that is 95% Caucasian.


Thu, Nov 8, 2012 : 10:51 p.m.

SOUR GRAPES!!! Plus, all you haters forgot about the other demo. Women... Who would vote for a person in a party with views of reproduction from the 18th century. Popularity contest my foot. People are smart, get over it.

Terry Star21

Thu, Nov 8, 2012 : 9:23 p.m.

The president received the majority votes from women, blacks and hispanics - it was a popularity contest. America lost !


Thu, Nov 8, 2012 : 3:57 p.m.

It really is sad how prejudice this election was. African Americans... Obama collected 93% of the vote. So much for racial equality.


Thu, Nov 8, 2012 : 3:08 p.m.

Might want to include the hispanics as well. obama is giving them asylum in our country. So, who would you vote for? Deportation vs immunity?


Thu, Nov 8, 2012 : 2:22 p.m.

Wheels of course the 98% proves it is all about skin color and not whats good for the country. if Kwame could run again He would get 98% of the african american vote.


Thu, Nov 8, 2012 : 2:16 p.m.

Are you suggesting people care more about skin color than who is best for the country? You do realize that in this election over 90% of African Americans voted for Obama, right?


Thu, Nov 8, 2012 : 1:22 p.m.

"In Ann Arbor, Obama took 79.2 percent" That's only because there's a D next to his name. If you put the D next to Romney's name, he would have won Ann Arbor. Jane Lumm proved that.


Thu, Nov 8, 2012 : 7:04 p.m.

Yes, Ryan, that's my point. She was previously a Republican. She then, brilliantly, ran as an Independent and managed to get elected. That was not a coincidence. Perhaps I should have been more clear, but my point was that there's no way a Republican could get elected in this town. Also not a coincidence, the gentleman she replaced, Rapundalo, ran first as a Republican then finally as a Democrat before he got elected.

Ryan J. Stanton

Thu, Nov 8, 2012 : 6:46 p.m.

Jane Lumm ran as an Independent, not a Democrat.


Thu, Nov 8, 2012 : 3:59 p.m.

Partisianship is alive and well.


Thu, Nov 8, 2012 : 2:02 p.m.



Thu, Nov 8, 2012 : 12:16 p.m.

Prop 2 - typical enviomental proposal - Sounds great, but no need to deal with reality.


Thu, Nov 8, 2012 : 1:38 p.m.

Wrong. Proposal 2 was collective bargaining.


Thu, Nov 8, 2012 : 11:17 a.m.

Sad that supposedly bright people supported 2 and 4...


Fri, Nov 9, 2012 : 1:45 a.m.

Should not be suprised look how 80% of Ann Arbor voted on the top of the ticket. Truly sad!


Thu, Nov 8, 2012 : 3:11 p.m.

@ outdoor...forced unionization...what a hoot! And an insult to your grandfather's who fought so hard for this right.


Thu, Nov 8, 2012 : 1:49 p.m.

What is stranger is that professionals that would never unionize support forced unionazation by others.


Thu, Nov 8, 2012 : 1:39 p.m.

I'm not sad that Ann Arborites supported prop 2. But it would appear that not enough did their homework on prop 4 , that's for sure.