Few voters anticipated for Feb. 28 electionPublished 10:33pm Monday, January 23, 2012
Voter turnout in the Niles area has been consistently poor in recent elections, but, for presidential primaries, it’s even worse.
In the 2008 primaries, Niles Township drew only 7 percent of registered voters to the polls, while in the city of Niles 13.5 percent cast their ballot.
And with the voter registration deadline Monday, local officials are saying they don’t expect a huge jump in this year’s turnout either.
Angie Cole, deputy clerk at Niles Township, said low turnout is pretty typical.
“Generally a presidential primary is a very low voter turnout because you have to choose whether you are a Democrat or Republican, and many don’t like to disclose that,” she said.
Election day is Feb. 28 with Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul in the thick of a tight race for the Republican nomination.
“This year will present Michigan residents with important choices at the voting booth, whether they’re voting for president or local offices,” said Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson in a press release this month.
“I encourage everyone who is not yet registered to do so in order to participate in one of the foundations of our democracy.”
To register, applicants must be at least 18 years old by election day and be U.S. citizens. Applicants must also be residents of Michigan and of the city or township in which they wish to register.
Voters may register by mail, at their county, city or township clerk’s office or by visiting any Secretary of State office.
Voters who qualify may choose to cast an absentee ballot.
Those who wish to receive their absentee ballot by mail must submit their application by 2 p.m. Feb. 25.
Absentee ballots can be obtained in person anytime through 4 p.m. on Feb. 27.
By state law, this is called a “closed primary.” When voters request an absentee ballot or arrive at the polls and fill out their application to vote, they must indicate in which party’s primary they wish to vote.
They will then receive a ballot listing candidates for that party.
Voters will be asked to provide identification when at the polls on Election Day.
Anyone who does not have an acceptable form of photo ID or failed to bring it with them to the polls can still vote.
They will be required to sign a brief affidavit stating that they’re not in possession of photo ID.