Biden Edges Sanders In Kalamazoo County

Mar 11, 2020

Young voters line up at Kalamazoo City Hall to register and then cast ballots in Michigan's presidential primary election
Credit John McNeill / WMUK

Young, first-time voters packed Kalamazoo City Hall Tuesday night to register and then cast their ballots in Michigan's presidential primary. But it wasn't enough to give Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders the margin of victory in Kalamazoo County, or Michigan.

Former vice-president Joe Biden is projected to win Michigan by a margin of about ten points. He beat Sanders by 2,030 votes in Kalamazoo County, according to unofficial returns Election Night.

Those results came in much later than usual because of the surge in turn out by young voters taking advantage of same-day registration. Michigan voters approved that and no-reason absentee voting in 2018. Kalamazoo County Clerk-Register Tim Snow says things went smoothly with few problems at local precincts. Snow says he'll work with city and township clerks as well as statewide organizations to make sure they're ready if the same thing happens in November.

Student Voter Turnout Campaign Succeeds

There was a concerted effort to get college students to the polls in Kalamazoo Tuesday. Hundreds lined up at Kalamazoo City Hall to register and then vote. Many were bused from Western Michigan University by organizations interested in boosting student turnout. Because of the large number of same-day registrations, the last vote wasn't cast at City Hall at 11:05 p.m. Tuesday. Kalamazoo Mayor David Anderson watched the process. He hopes younger voters will pre-register this fall instead of waiting to do it Election Night.

Sign posted by "We Vote" on WMU's campus on Monday, March 10
Credit Andy Robins / WMUK

Some students waited three hours or more to register and then vote last night. Adam Bennett with Western's We Vote program says it's been working for months to get as many students to the polls as possible.

Kalamazoo City Clerk Scott Borling says the rush of last-minute registrations caught his office off-guard. But he says the city will be ready if there's a repeat in November.

Overall turn-out in Kalamazoo County for Tuesday's primary was fairly low. But long lines were also reported in Grand Rapids, Lansing, Ann Arbor, and other college towns.

Kalamazoo Approves Transit Millage

A millage request for bus service in Kalamazoo County cruised to a three-to-one victory Tuesday. Voters overwhelmingly supported a tax increase to maintain current services and make improvements. The millage will be in effect for five years. Metro Director Sean McBride He says the extra money will offset expected cuts in state funding as Lansing shifts its focus to road projects. Greg Rosine ran the millage campaign for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. He says the lopsided vote shows how the public feels about bus service. The typical homeowner will pay about in the cities of Kalamazoo, Portage, and Parchment, as well as Kalamazoo and Comstock townships. The millage also covers parts of Oshtemo and Texas townships. The rest of the County is covered by a separate millage.

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