Voters approve veterans millage for Kalamazoo County, ranked choice voting in city
The mayors of Kalamazoo and Portage both won new two year terms on Tuesday
Kalamazoo voters embraced ranked-choice voting in Tuesday's election. 6,486 people voted in favor of the proposal, fewer than 2,700 people voted against. It’s not clear when the city can actually start using that system to vote. The proposal says state law would have to change first.
If adopted, voters will list candidates by preferences with their vote being given to their second choice if their first does not win the majority. This will continue through the ranking until a candidate wins.
A millage in Kalamazoo County to help local veterans had overwhelming voter support. Nearly 32,000 voters voted for the 10-year millage to raise property taxes by about 10-dollars a year for a home worth $200,000. It will cover general operating expenses for the county’s Veterans Service Office, while expanding benefits like counseling services and emergency relief for veterans in need.
Kalamazoo Mayor David Anderson has easily won another term in office. Anderson garnered nearly 7,100 of the nearly 9,300 votes that were cast. Challenger John Allen earned about 1,850 votes on Tuesday. At a watch party Tuesday night, Anderson spoke about some of his priorities for the next term.
“We are still gonna have to keep working on this gun violence issue we have going on, we've got serious support that we need to provide for our downtown for it to be a great place. Obviously, we're dealing with streets, and non-motorized transportation, there's a lot of controversy about that.”
The Kalamazoo City Commission will have a new member. Incumbents Jeanne Hess and Chris Praedel earned the highest vote tally with 5,797 votes and 5,343 votes respectively. They were the highest vote getters. Newcomer Alonzo Wilson edged out Incumbent Esteven Juarez for the final of three seats in Tuesday’s election. Wilson earned 4,783 votes, Juarez trailed with 3,447 votes.
Portage Mayor Patricia Randall defeated a write-in opponent by a wide margin in Tuesday’s election. Randall earned nearly 7,100 of the just over 8,400 ballots. This will be Randall’s fourth term as Portage’s Mayor. Former Portage City Councilwoman Lisa Brayton ran a write-in campaign. 1,347 write-in votes were cast in Tuesday's election. Brayton’s name was removed from the ballot amid a residency dispute.
Two incumbents won re-election to the Portage City Council. Chris Burns and James Person, along with newcomer Nicole Miller won four year terms in Tuesday's election. Jihan Ain Young was fourth among nine candidates. Young will serve the final two years of Brayton's City Council term.