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Top five counties in Michigan for voter turnout, and the bottom five

Mark Brush
Michigan Radio

A Presidential election always brings more registered voters to the polls than 'off-year' elections.

But as the voter numbers begin to be scrutinized, we see that overall turnout was down in this Presidential election.

While they're still "unofficial numbers," the Michigan Secretary of State said the turnout for the 2012 Presidential election was lower than the past two.

Here are the numbers they sent me:

  • 2012: Almost 4.8 million voters; 64 percent
  • 2008: 5 million voters; 67 percent
  • 2004: Almost 4.9 million voters; 68 percent

In late October, the Washington Post posted that lower turnout was expected across the country:

With less than a week to go in the 2012 election, voters are less enthusiastic about casting ballots than they were in either of the last two presidential elections, according to a new Gallup poll. The numbers suggest that there could well be a dropoff in voter turnout on Election Day.

If you look more closely at the counties in Michigan, you see a similar picture. Turnout was down.

These are not official numbers yet (they'll become official when the State Board of Canvassers signs off on them).

But by the 'unofficial' vote count, here are the five counties in Michigan with the highest voter turnout (registered voters vs. actual votes cast):

  • Benzie - 76.8 percent
  • Leelanau - 73.3 percent
  • Keweenaw - 72.5 percent
  • Livingston - 72.1 percent
  • Ottawa - 71.9 percent

And here are the bottom five counties:

  • Branch - 51.6 percent
  • St Joseph - 53.8 percent
  • Berrien - 54.0 percent
  • Baraga - 55.1 percent
  • Wexford - 56.5 percent

By contrast, in the 2008 Presidential election, Ottawa County had the highest turnout rate at 80.4 percent.

The county with the lowest turnout rate for that election was, again, Branch County at 58.1 percent.

And if you look at the top five and bottom five counties in 2010, you get a similar picture.

Again, these numbers compare registered voters with actual votes cast in that county. If we were to look at eligible voters vs. votes cast, the rates would be lower.

You can find how your county ranks here.

Mark Brush was the station's Digital Media Director. He succumbed to a year-long battle with glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer, in March 2018. He was 49 years old.
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