Voters select candidates for November showdowns
BALDWIN — More than 2,600 voters throughout Lake County made their voices heard by casting their ballots during the open primary on Tuesday.
Locally, 2,646 residents (28.8 percent) in the 16 precincts turned out to cast ballots for party candidates in local, statewide and national races and local township board races and millage requests.
“The numbers are very low, but higher than they have normally been,” said Lake County Clerk Patti Pacola on Wednesday morning. “I’m really happy with the turnout with this election. The voters got out and voted, the equipment worked great and the precinct workers were happy when they came in — that’s always a bonus.”
Tuesday’s primary election was the first time new voting equipment was used by voters throughout the county. Pacola said there no issues with the equipment.
“We had a few hiccups, like ballots getting stuck in the machine, but everything seems to have gone really well,” she said. “When you use anything brand-new and you’re finding your way around it, you kind of find some road bumps. But at our 15 precincts, we did excellent.”
With no major issues popping up during voting on Tuesday, Pacola said she has high hopes for the equipment to run without issues in November.
“The only thing we’re going to see is looking at how we might be able to change the reports a little bit on the website,” she said. “ElectionSource, who provided the equipment, did hands-on training. My office did a couple of follow-up trainings for the townships that didn’t quite feel comfortable with the machines. We also did a couple of demonstrations for the public to get them familiar with using it. We had it out there quite a bit before the election.”
Contested Republican primary races in Lake County included two county commission seats. In District 4, Dawn Martin (156) defeated incumbent County Commissioner Katherine Maddox (113). In the District 6, County Commissioner Christine Balulis (134) held off challenger Steve Steketee (95).
In a three-way race for the County Commission District 1 seat, Robert Sanders (104) notched a win against Bruce L. Austin and County Commissioner John Brunn. On the Democrat primary ballot, Clyde Welford (530) defeated Perry Pieske for the November race for a seat on the Lake County Road Commission.
Winners of their respective party races will face off in November.
Lake County voters also followed statewide trends Tuesday night in the gubernatorial primaries. In the Republican primary, Bill Schuette received 789 votes, or about 52.5 percent of the 1,502 votes cast, over Brian Calley, Jim Hines and Patrick Colbeck. Gretchen Whitmer received 633 votes, about 67 percent of the Democratic turnout, over Shri Thanedar and Abdul El-Sayed.
However, in the race to face off against incumbent Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow in November, local Republican voters chose Sandy Pensler (844) over John James (586). Statewide, James defeated Pensler in the race.
All election results are unofficial until certified by the board of canvassers.