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Posted on Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 9:50 a.m.

Early turnout modest as Washtenaw County voters cast ballots in gubernatorial, legislative, local races

By Juliana Keeping


Voters cast their ballots at Haisley Elementary School in Ann Arbor this morning.

Angela J. Cesere |

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional comments from voters.

University of Michigan graduate student Nick Douville was one of the first voters to cast a ballot this morning at Slauson Middle School in Ann Arbor as Washtenaw County voters went to the polls this morning.

Douville voted Democratic down the line - except when it came to the gubernatorial race. He met GOP candidate Rick Snyder on campus, he said, and had the chance to learn about his policies.

“He was clearly the economic candidate,” Douville said.

The parking lot at Slauson was full minutes after he polls opened at 7 a.m. Like voters across the state, Washtenaw County voters are casting ballots that will decide who will be Michigan's next governor as well as the winners of numerous contested congressional, state legislative, and local races and several ballot issues.

Ann Arbor City Clerk Jackie Beaudry said voters were turning out this morning but not in droves. “The turnout on (the University of Michigan) campus is very light,” she said. “While throughout the city, it’s a modest turnout.”

Around 11 a.m., Beaudry estimated voter turnout would be between between 30 and 40 percent today. In the November 2008 presidential election, turnout was at 61 percent. Beaudry didn't immediately have voter turnout information available for the last gubernatorial election.

She said 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. are typically the busiest times for polling places.


Ann Arbor resident Leland Parsons, right, accepts his ballot fromPrecinct 5-9 election inspector Jackie Creager at Haisley Elementary School in Ann Arbor this morning.

Angela J. Cesere |

Like Douville, business owner Margo Brown also cited the economy when talking about why Snyder was her choice after she voted at Saline Middle School.

“I get tired of everyone talking about creating jobs,” she said. “No one can create jobs. You have to create the environment so jobs will create themselves.”

But Derek Roberts voted for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Virg Bernero at Allen Elementary School in Ann Arbor. He said he’s putting his trust in the Democrats to turn things around for Michigan.

“I’m a little scared about the Republicans taking over,” said Roberts, an architect planner laid off last year. He lost his job after federal dollars fell through on a public project and has since been underemployed.

“I feel like we’re making slow and steady progress toward a new agenda. I would hate to see that go to the wayside.”

In Saline, Leslie Parsells said she came out to vote for incumbent Mark Schauer, D-Battle Creek, in his 7th Congressional District race against Tim Walberg of Tipton. She said she doesn't agree with Walberg. "I hate that he might represent me on a national level."

At the Ann Arbor Community Center on Main Street, Gary Diehl, a retired IRS employee, said he was voting for Republican Rob Steele in the Ann Arbor area cardiologist's effort to unseat U.S. Rep. John Dingell, D-Dearborn, Congress's longest-serving member. "I think Dingell's too old," he said. "He's been in there 50 years. It's too long."

Diehl did vote for Bernero though, believing he will do more to keep jobs in Michigan.

But Bryan Hogle, a University of Michigan graduate student said he voted for Dingell today even though he usually votes Republican. It was Dingell's experience that convinced him to vote for him. He said he's interested to see what more Dingell can do to bring renewable energy businesses to Michigan. He also wants to see climate legislation advance.

Juliana Keeping is a reporter for Reach her at or 734-623-2528. Follow Juliana Keeping on Twitter


T Kinks

Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 11:14 p.m.

Thank you Ben Woodruff for clearing that up. For those who haven't figured it out yet, what usually happens is the Republicans spend spend spend & put this country in very bad shape as in both Bush presidencies that when a Democrat gets in they have to raise taxes to try and get us out of this mess. Then the Republicans complain about higher taxes, blame the Dems for the huge deficient & they get re elected and the cycle starts all over again. Let's remember that President Clinton balanced the budget and there was little or know unemployment. Then somehow G W gets elected & puts this country in deeper debt than any other president in history. What's wrong w/ this picture?

michigan face

Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 7:35 p.m.

Bill - glad you got there. The calls we made were not robocalls but live ones. I agree that the number to call for a ride should be posted. If you would like to comment to the Michigan Democratic Party - Mark Brewer, I am sure they will be appreciative of your suggestion of how to make things work more easily for all of us. I don't tweet or facebook either so I am left to what devices I can dig up as well. A little anxious right now - but we will survive somehow no matter what the outcome - what's the alternative? Thanks for your feedback and kindness and vote - I was just a volunteer so I can't speak for the whole party but we need more people like you!


Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 6:33 p.m.

@hot sam - filibusters aren't like Jimmy Stewart any more, in case you haven't been keeping up. The Senator just has to say he is going to do it, and it blocks the legislation. The Republican's have done more filibustering than any time in the last 100 years since Obama took office trying to negate results of last election. and YES they did filibuster to make sure middle class couldn't have tax cuts unless wealthiest two percent got an even bigger one! Oh and BTW, in the last 30 years (22 years of R presidents, and only 8 of D) the percentage of income in this country going to top few percent went from 9% to 25% - grossly increasing income inequality and putting the squeeze on the working and middle class.


Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 6:22 p.m.

Thanks to all for the numbers for a ride. Someone finally got here about 645 pm. I just wish the Democrats would publicize the number to call before the election, not 5 pm the day of. Got two robocalls asking me to vote, one while I was waiting for a ride. I don't expect anyone to call everyone in the county. But at least post a working number online and in the newspaper.


Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 6:21 p.m.

Voting was strong at Scarlett Middle School. The lines were so long that more voting "booths" had to be brought in.

Martha Mayo

Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 5:25 p.m.

Bill - You can call the Christine Green campaign for a ride to the polls. Number is: 734-585-5059.

michigan face

Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 5:21 p.m.

Bill - I worked for days calling the registered Dems lists that we had at the HQ - we asked everyone if they needed a ride to the polls. Sorry we missed you it seems, but don't worry - we haven't given up and a lot of people have been working very hard for Virg and the ticket. You can always count on the Dems to get you a ride. Please don't forget to vote Denise Langford Morris and Alton Thomas Davis on the Nonpartisan (backside of the ballot) for Supreme Court. I'm so glad you got a ride. We need you!


Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 5:19 p.m.

I was the 638 voter at Thurston. Voting still gives me a sense of pride and I'm glad I didn't allow the negative campaigns to influence that precious right I have. And Steve Bean - I voted for you!

Macabre Sunset

Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 5:08 p.m.

I'm a little north of town, and I've never seen lines before today. I would say turnout is extraordinary. Based on the number on the ballot I was handed, there's no question there will be more votes in my precinct today than in 2008. Already well over 50% of registered voters.


Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 4:56 p.m.

mi face thank you. I rcvd an email from after 20 minutes with two phone numbers. one voicemail full, other answered and trying to find me a ride now. Gee, a fellow shouldn't have to depend on the off chance somebody answers on to find a number. I don't know why the Democrats are hiding. If you don't know somebody there or don't look online for an hour, you can't find a ride. I would think they would be all out on this election trying to build up votes for Virg in this county. Maybe they gave up already. At the least they should make sure they have working number online. We didn't have any trouble in southern Indiana in 1972 giving rides for McGovern and that was Nixon country. Phones only back then, no home computers, no cell phones and it still worked smoother than this. Or maybe it's all on facebook and us old folks that don't use that don't matter.

michigan face

Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 4:42 p.m.

I worked as a poll greeter at Arrowwood - turnout looked real good. I handed out literature for Denise Langford Morris and Alton Thomas Davis for Michigan Supreme Court. I was surprised how many people did not know about the "nonpartisan" judges' race. Almost all appreciated the information

michigan face

Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 4:38 p.m.

@Bill - the phone number is 332.4500 - get a ride to the polls.

David Cahill

Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 4:37 p.m.

At 9:15 a.m. at AA City 1-6 (Northside School) the parking lot was full and there were two lines: one to get to the voting booths and the other to put the ballots into the machines. However, the total number of votes cast was not that large considering the time of day. My guess is that there were a lot of ticket-splitters and people who hadn't decided one way or another how to vote when they got to the poll, so they were taking an unusually long time to vote. I heard that voting was quite heavy around 2:00 in Scio Precinct 9, a Dem precinct. If true, this is good news for Mark Schauer and Christine Green.

michigan face

Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 4:32 p.m.

Bill - Call the Democratic Headquarters on North Main Street - they will get you a ride. Write me back if you can't find their number.


Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 4:25 p.m.

It appears turnout will fall below (on a % basis) 2006 levels based on field reports.


Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 4:01 p.m.

This election matters as all elections do. Being tired of the obnoxious campaign ads, the lies, the distortions of some of the candidates is a good reason to really dig into the facts and vote for those who are talking about the facts, not distorted rhetoric. If we vote for those who know what they are talking about, are informed themselves, then we vote for a more effective government, at all levels. To vote for those who keep repeating misinformation as factual statements serves no one well. In a democracy we all have the responsibility to be as informed as we possibly can - no excuses. To not vote at all or to turn in empty ballots is taking an observer role in the democratic process. We try to vote in our best candidates who may not be our ideals, and then we can tell them as often as we want what we like/don't like in hopes that we can help them truly represent us at the local, state and national levels. Apathy fails every time.


Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 3:44 p.m.

I firmly believe Rick Snyder will do a great job as governor. Politicians brought us were we are. Someone with a business background that understands income vs expenses will get us out. On the other hand, at the national level, our best years with growth and deficit reduction happened under Clinton. However he was forced to work with a Republican congress. Maybe we need a similiar scenario again to help control expenses (but then again only if the Republicans want to control expenses). Under Bush, it was spend, spend, spend. As a country, there needs to be a better control on the purse strings. Until that happens, we will continue down the path of self destruction.


Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 3:34 p.m.

Can someone with the News post numbers to call for a ride to the polls?

Marshall Applewhite

Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 3:06 p.m.

I'm looking forward to the return of rational governance after this election. I really think Michigan will be back on the path to prosperity in 2-3 years.


Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 3:06 p.m.

The Senate Republicans made it clear they would filibuster if the Dem leadership introduced a bill to extend the middle class tax breaks but not the tax cuts for those making over $250k. The White House wanted a vote on the floor pre-election. The Senate Dem leadership opted NOT to introduce this before the recess. IMHO, Republicans were wrong to block tax relief for 98% of Americans. Dems were wrong to not force the vote.

Hot Sam

Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 2:46 p.m.

@Barb Have we seen a "filibuster" actually occur lately???


Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 2:42 p.m.

@HotSam, are you not familiar with the term "filibuster"? The Obama/Dem proposal is to retain the Bush tax cuts on all income earned up to $250,000, while the GOP/hand-wringing Dems want to retain all of the Bush tax cuts, with the latter presumably filibustering the former until all Bush tax cuts are extended.


Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 2:37 p.m.

Exit pollsters should be banned. Your ballot is secret so why tell a strange how you voted?

Hot Sam

Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 2:27 p.m.

"""The Democratic congress tried to extend the tax cuts for the middle class, but were blocked by Republicans""" Newsflash! There hasn't been enough Republicans in the last two years to block any thing...


Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 1:52 p.m.

Steele campaigns turnout models looking very favorable district wide as of 2PM. Translation, Republican areas voting higher than DEM areas.


Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 1:51 p.m.

Steve Bean, I voted for you. Thank you for not being a typical politician. The country is negative enough with negative ads. IT

5c0++ H4d13y

Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 1:48 p.m.

@dotdash Yea and there were plenty of Democrats that wanted to extend them for all tax payers too. Whenever the democrats couldn't get enough of their own party to go along they would blame republicans for obstruction. Part of the reason why both parties are so unpopular these days.


Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 1:39 p.m.

I don't know, ShadowManager. There's some pretty stiff competition in Congress for most embarrassing representative, starting with the Senator who was worried that Haiti would capsize from the weight of the US Marines... I totally agree about negative ads. I don't want to hear about how bad the other guy is. I want to hear how good you'll do, especially if you're going to have to work with others. Negative ads are pretty much a "I don't work well with others" sort of thing, which is exactly what we don't need in office.

Top Cat

Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 1:35 p.m.

I always thought that voting should be moved to a Saturday and Sunday to make it easier for all. Tuesday voting goes back long ago when people had to travel by horse and buggy for an entire day to reach their polling place.


Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 1:22 p.m.

I was listening to NPR this morning and the guest said they thought voting day should be a national holiday so that people could celebrate voting, not lose wages for taking time off of work, and get to the polls more easily. I thought it was a fantastic idea! What a great idea to celebrate our democracy!


Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 1:20 p.m.

Wow, just voted at Scarlett Middle School, the Polling Place for Precincts 3-6 and 3-9. There must have been 50 people or more waiting to vote on the 3-9 side. One guy said he completely missed his lunch break from work so far because of the wait. Looks like they didn't have enough voting booths. Funny thing was, on the 3-6 side, where I voted, was empty and I didn't have to wait at all. But sure felt sorry for those in the 3-9 Precinct waiting so long.


Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 1:17 p.m.

The Democratic congress tried to extend the tax cuts for the middle class, but were blocked by Republicans who would only vote yes if tax cuts for the wealthy were extended, too. If you are middle class, you owe the loss of those tax cuts to Republicans in congress.

5c0++ H4d13y

Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 12:50 p.m.

@Barb your taxes go up in 2011 because the Bush tax cut expires and congress failed to extend it. Also if you use an FSA you may be paying more. Some health care plans will be taxed and taxes on medical equipment went up as well.


Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 12:37 p.m.

Walberg is an embarassment. I'm, unfortunately, in the district he's running in, and sure do hope Schauer pulls out a win...otherwise it's gonna be 2 long years of having the most embarassing representative in the whole Congress being from our State.


Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 12:35 p.m.

I voted at Lodi Township Farm Council Grounds late a.m. There weren't that many voters - kind of average turnout I'd say. I thought the electronic registration went well - it was faster than someone with less-than-good vision spending extra minutes trying to find my name! I thought by far the most negative campaign was the Mark Schauer/Tim Walberg one. Absolutely disgraceful. I was sometimes getting 3-4 negative pieces in the mail A DAY, not to mention the annoying phonecalls and radio ads. I didn't want to vote for either of them, but I held my nose while filling out the circle for Schauer. I agree with Mr. Diehl about Dingell. They need to institute age limits for senators and representatives. Almost all jobs have mandatory retirement ages for a reason. Why shouldn't Congress? Looking forward to tomorrow when I don't have to see or hear Bernero's rhetoric any more.


Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 11:51 a.m.

Sticker? Guess they didn't have these in Webster Township Hall. Yes, voted for the 1st time in my life. Not embarrassed - proud to help vote out the Dems!


Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 11:28 a.m.

11am at Pittsfield Admin. Building thought it looked slow, lots of places to park, no one campaigning out front but I was wrong. Long line, waited 1/2 hour by the time I got to a voting booth. Slow, slow, slow.


Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 11:09 a.m.

"In FY2009, which began on September 1, 2008 and represents the Bush Administration's final budget, the budget deficit was $1.416 trillion. In FY2010, the first budget of the Obama Administration, the budget deficit was $1.291 trillion, a decline of $125 billion. Yes, that means President Obama has cut the deficit -- there's a long way to go, but we're in better shape now than we were under Bush and the GOP." That's odd...FY2009 budget only shows a deficit of $407 billion. The actual deficit was $1.4 trillion for FY2009. 1 trillion more was spent vs. what was budgeted. The budgeted deficit for FY2010 was $1.171 trillion. The actual deficit for FY2010 was $1.3 trillion. Both years, the Dems were in control of Congress.


Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 11:08 a.m.

Higher taxes? I think you mean *lower* taxes @xmo. Unless you make a lot more than me.

Jacqui G

Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 11:02 a.m.

I was at Haisley this morning and it was more than modest. There usually aren't lines on an 'off' election - and I had to wait about 10-15 mintues at 7:50am. So I think the characterization of this election as modest turnout isn't correct. I would change it to 'heavier than usual for a non-presidential election'.


Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 10:50 a.m.

Hey xmo, yes it can get worse, and it was.... Questions: What was the average monthly private sector job growth in 2008, the final year of the Bush presidency, and what has it been so far in 2010? What was the Federal deficit for the last fiscal year of the Bush presidency, and what was it for the first full fiscal year of the Obama presidency? What was the stock market at on the last day of the Bush presidency? What is it at today? Which party's candidate for speaker will campaign this weekend with a Nazi reenactor who dressed up in a SS uniform? Answers: In 2008, we lost an average of 317,250 private sector jobs per month. In 2010, we have gained an average of 95,888 private sector jobs per month. (Source) That's a difference of nearly five million jobs between Bush's last year in office and President Obama's second year. In FY2009, which began on September 1, 2008 and represents the Bush Administration's final budget, the budget deficit was $1.416 trillion. In FY2010, the first budget of the Obama Administration, the budget deficit was $1.291 trillion, a decline of $125 billion. Yes, that means President Obama has cut the deficit -- there's a long way to go, but we're in better shape now than we were under Bush and the GOP. On Bush's final day in office, the Dow, NASDAQ, and S&P 500 closed at 7,949, 1,440, and 805, respectively. Today, as of 10:15AM Pacific, they are at 11,108, 2,512, and 1,183. That means since President Obama took office, the Dow, NASDAQ, and S&P 500 have increased 40%, 74%, and 47%, respectively. The Republican Party, whose candidate for speaker, John Boehner, will campaign with Nazi re-enactor Rich Iott this weekend. If you need an explanation why this is offensive, you are a lost cause. The moral of the story is this: if you vote Republican, I hope you enjoy Election Day -- because you're not going to like what comes next. Or maybe, xmo, you will... :::


Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 10:32 a.m.

"It's not who votes that counts. It's who counts the votes." Vote Scam: The Stealing of America -- Hacking Democracy or -

joe average

Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 10:31 a.m.

Mjc, get this: On my way to vote today I saw numerous instances where Democratic candidate's lawn signs had been "X"d over with red duct tape!!! There are enough of these around for me to believe this is a concerted effort by a particular group as opposed to an isolated incident. Sleazeballs committing such vandalism should be ashamed of themselves and their voting group; serious introspection of their core values (if any) need to be explored as well. The entire election process in this country is out of control. I wouldn't have voted either, but I really love those little stickers they hand out when you leave. I wouldn't have voted either, but I really like the little stickers

dading dont delete me bro

Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 10:14 a.m.

if you don't vote, don't complain. and as alphonse capone once said, "vote early, vote often"


Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 10:12 a.m.

Dear Mr. Derek Roberts: Please don't be scared about the Republicans taking over, can they do any worse then the present Regime? 10%plus unemployment, higher taxes starting 1/1/11, unchecked budget deficits, Nationalization of the Automobile industry, etc etc.

Top Cat

Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 10:05 a.m.

It sure was hoppin' in Webster Township this morning. I never miss voting. I always remember that my father almost died in New Guinea in 1944 to protect my right to choose who governs us.


Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 10:04 a.m.

I agree with the comments that most of the candidates ads make me sick. I also agree that one needs to go to the polls and hand in a blank ballot if you don't want any of the candidates. I am an independent, and often find myself voting against a candidate as opposed to voting for a candidate. Virg Bernero is so negative all the time that I cannot consider voting for him. I don't agree that manufacturing will save Michigan, it's the reliance on manufacturing that got us here (coupled with poor management, poor governance, and unions that fought for workers rights to sit all day and get paid when there wasn't any work to do). I don't agree with policies that provide absurd tax relief (i.e. movie producing) that don't make economic sense. I'm totally disgusted, both at the state and federal levels, with our politicians inability to have discussions and work out issues. I thought Jon Steward said it well this past weekend. An easy choice for me is to vote against all candidates endorsed by Sarah Palin. Makes easy decisions. I find myself leaning towards voting for Rick Snyder today since I don't want Virg Bernero, so again I am voting against and not for. I'll also vote for our long time congressman Mr. Dingell, because of Sarah Palin's endorsement of Rob Steele. I don't agree with Mr. Dingell's focus on getting us pork, and his obvious announcement of new projects right before the election is distasteful, but Rob Steele represents views I do not agree with. Anyone who wants less government regulation should be wondering how companies will self regulate themselves on pollution and consumer safety if no one is around to at least try to get them to follow the rules. While government is bloated and often bungles things, I don't see an alternative.

Steve Bean

Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 10:04 a.m.

MjC, I agree, and my actions as a candidate demonstrate that. Steve Bean Independent candidate for mayor


Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 9:55 a.m.

@MjC: Please vote. Too many have died for that right. As far as the ads are concerned, I'm weary of them, as well. I think I've worn out my mute button.


Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 9:51 a.m.

I thouhgt that my polling place on the north-East part of town was busier around 8am than in previous elections.

5c0++ H4d13y

Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 9:46 a.m.

@MJC you can always go and turn in a blank ballot to express a "none of the above" attitude. Plus there's always the other issues besides executive and legislative branches to vote on.


Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 9:46 a.m.

That's funny. At my polling place the workers said it had been busy all morning. And PLEASE do not sit this election out. Elections have consequences. Even if you are unhappy with the candidates or their campaigns, one of them will win and represent you - you better help decide which one!


Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 9:41 a.m.

This is the first election I've ever seriously considered skipping. I'm so disgusted with the negative campaign ads that none of the candidates appeal to me. I ALWAYS vote, and strongly feel that the people who don't vote are disgracing the those who fought and died for our freedom. So for me to want to skip an election... well, it won't surprise me if the turnout is low. Negative campaign ads need to stop. If you want to run for public office, then present your resume and qualifications. Don't bash your opponent. Voters are smart enough to sort out the bad from the good. You want us out voting, not sitting at home. Prove to us why YOU are worthy of our time and our vote.


Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 9:15 a.m.

Any exit polls?