25 percent of GBCS voters cast ballots in May 5 election as statewide voter turnout breaks record

GRAND BLANC — Reflecting a trend seen statewide, about 25 percent of registered voters in the Grand Blanc Community Schools cast ballots in the May 5 millage election.

Michigan recorded record-breaking voter turnout in about 50 elections in 33 counties and 200 municipalities, according to Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson.

Grand Blanc schools Superintendent Clarence Garner said the local turnout was “fantastic” when compared to other May elections.

“Just less than 11,000 folks voted,” Garner said. “Typically, in a May election, we’ll get in the neighborhood of 3,000.”

Statewide, average voter turnout for a May election is about 11 to 12 percent.

“I think a lot could be attributed to the fact that if you were a registered voter, you received … an absentee application,” Garner said. “I think when we look at equity and access, everyone had an opportunity to cast their vote in this election. That’s a good thing for our democracy.”

Of the 10,824 ballots cast, 59.09 percent (6,396) were in favor of the request for a zero-increase bond. Another 40.75 percent (4,411) voters voted against the bond. There were 12 undervotes and five overvotes.

Currently, the district levies 6.3 mils, a rate that is based on the amount of debt owed. As the district pays down the debt, the millage rate would drop.

“Next year it would (have been) about 5.9 mils,” said Garner. “What we asked was to keep it at 6.3 mils.”

With a vote in the affirmative, the district may keep the levy at 6.3 mils and capture the additional funds, raising just less than $87 million in the next six years without raising taxes, Garner said.

“It’s a great opportunity for us … for people not to pay any more than they are now … and will do a lot for our district,” he said.

Benson called the election turnout “inspiring.”

“Our local election officials deserve tremendous credit for their ability to administer a safe, successful election under unprecedented circumstances,” she said.

The previous state record for a May election was 23 percent set in 2015 when voters weighed in on a proposed gas tax.

All Michigan voters have the right to vote from home and the ability to automatically receive absentee applications mailed to them. Those interested in joining the permanent absent voter application list can sign up at Michigan.gov/Vote by entering their name, birthday and zip code to find their registration, then clicking the green button to join the list.