The COVID-19 pandemic seems to have boosted Kalamazoo County participation in this month's election. The Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency and a handful of townships and school districts have proposals on the ballot.
As of about 2 p.m. Tuesday, 39,772 ballots had been returned, Kalamazoo County Clerk Tim Snow told WMUK. That’s about 73 percent of ballots issued. The Secretary of State sent absentee applications to all May 5 voters because of the pandemic.
The total is sure to go even higher, with ballots still being dropped off and limited in-person voting until 8 p.m., but the tally for the May election has already sailed past the total for November 2019 when about 33,500 votes were cast, Snow said. The City of Kalamazoo was electing a mayor and several commissioners in November, and KRESA voters had a different proposal to consider.
“It’s actually a little bit less stuff on the ballot” this time, Snow said, “But we still have a better turnout by doing an all-mail election.”
Precincts are closed, but voters can still drop off ballots, register and vote-in person at their city or township clerk’s office.
“We don’t really know what that kind of a turnout’s going to be, because like this entire process it’s been uncertain as to what it’s actually going to look like,” Snow said Monday.
“But it will certainly be all done with using social distancing and masks and all those types of accoutrements that we need now,” he added.
KRESA and Ross Township have millage renewals on the ballot. Otsego Public Schools and Vicksburg Community Schools are voting on bond proposals.