Voter turnout for the Nov. 6 midterm elections is expected to be higher than usual in Hillsdale.
Hillsdale City Clerk Stephen French said he has already received double the amount of absentee ballots than he typically would in a midterm election year. He also noted that a lot of people have come into his office to drop of their ballots and shared they have never voted before.
“With all of the issues on the ballot, and the overall political climate, I think there will be a large voter turnout,” French said.
He said he expects about a 40 percent voter turnout, compared to the usual 20 percent.
Michele Plant, a new resident to Hillsdale, said she votes in every election, but this one is different.
“This election is very important,” Plant said. “There is a lot at stake.”
Pro-life issues and the hope that Republicans keep their seats are motivating Plant to the polls this election.
Mayor Adam Stockford noted that the last two November elections have seen high voter turnout and he suspects this election will be no different.
“Something changed in people,” Stockford said. “Maybe it’s just a sign of the times at the national level.”
Stockford said that he thinks there are two reasons for the increase in voter turnout. The first of which is that after the 2016 election, people, especially in Michigan, realized that their single vote mattered. Secondly, Stockford said, “politically and ideologically speaking, we are at war with one another,” and the bookends of the political spectrum have grown farther apart.
“Even the so-called moderates don’t recognize pieces of themselves in the opposing party’s moderates,” Stockford said.
Despite the spike in voter turnout over the last few years, and the hope for a large turnout Nov. 6, some Hillsdale residents still don’t see the need to vote. Randy Omo and John Fisher have never voted and don’t see this election as any reason to start.
“Politicians do what they want, they don’t listen to the people,” Omo said. “I haven’t found a politician that I think is worth voting for.”
“We can celebrate high voter turnout as a sign that people are more involved if we like,” Stockford said. “But I feel like it’s more of a pervasive view that we see all elections as do or die.”
The City Clerk’s office will be open to issue absentee ballots on Saturday, Nov. 3 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
French encourages residents who are uncertain about their voter registration status to call the City Clerk’s office.
The Midterm election is Nov. 6, 2018. All registered city residents can vote at the Hillsdale Community Library located at 11 E. Bacon St. Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.
“I’d encourage people, as always, to get out and vote,” Stockford said.