Officials report strong turnout for Tuesday election
Tue, 11/15/2022 - 12:00pm caleb
Most local races for November 8 voting process did not feature any opposition on the ballots
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
Locally, there was not much to be decided during the November 8 general election voting process due to the large amount of uncontested races and lack of local proposals, but ballots did include three state-wide proposals, several state government races, and state legislative positions, and several local election officials reported high voter turnout.
All of the candidates for Crawford County Board of Commissioners, Crawford County Road Commission Board, and Grayling City Council did not face opposition on the November 8 ballot, according to election information.
The county commissioners on the ballot and their votes received on November 8, according to posted results: District 1, Laurie Jamison (Republican, incumbent), 388 votes; District 2, Dorothy A. Frederick (Republican), 783 votes; District 3, Shelly Pinkelman (Republican, incumbent), 779 votes; District 4, Jamie McClain (Republican, incumbent), 786 votes; District 5, Carey Jansen (No Party Affiliation, incumbent), 475 votes; District 6, Sherry Powers (Republican, incumbent), 753; District 7, Phil Lewis (Republican, incumbent), 742 votes.
The candidates for two six-year Crawford County Road Commission Board positions were Scott Hanson (Republican, incumbent) and Gary Summers (Republican, incumbent). Hanson received 4,484 votes and Summers received 4,356 votes.
McKenzie Nelson and Jack Pettyjohn (incumbent) were running unopposed for four-year Grayling City Council seats. Nelson received 322 votes and Pettyjohn received 278 votes, according to the county election website.
Colin G. Hunter, running unopposed for Judge of Circuit Court 46th Circuit, received 4,436 local votes.
Local ballots also featured voting for Crawford AuSable School District, Kirtland Community College, and COOR Intermediate School District board of education members.
Matt Cragg and Nicole Persing-Wethington – running unopposed for six-year terms on the Crawford AuSable School District Board of Education – received 2,927 and 2,759 votes, respectively.
Ryan J. Finstrom – running unopposed for a four-year term on the CASD Board of Education – received 3,620 votes.
In one of the only local contested races, three candidates – Gina Brunskill, Bethany I. Gilkerson, and Pam LaGattuta – were running for one two-year term on the CASD Board of Education. LaGattuta received 1,537 votes, Brunskill had 1,331 votes, and Gilkerson received 851 votes, according to final election results posted by Crawford County.
Two incumbents – Tom Ritter and Roy V. Spangler – were running unopposed for six-year Kirtland Community College Board Trustee terms. Ritter received 16,639 votes and Spangler received 13,671 votes, according to Roscommon County election officials.
Three candidates were running for two six-year COOR Intermediate School District Board member positions: James S. Mangutz, Nancy Persing, and Brie Blaauw-Molaison. Persing (13,171) and Mangutz (10,652) received the most votes, according to Roscommon County. Blaauw-Molaison received 7,822 votes.
According to Roscommon County election officials, for two partial terms (two years) on the COOR Intermediate School District Board, James A. Gendernalik received 17,494 votes and Blaauw-Molaison received 42 write-in votes.
In Grayling Charter Township, Kim Halstead (incumbent) was running unopposed for constable (partial term ending November 20, 2024, according to the ballot). He received 2,056 votes.
Maple Forest Township ballots had one unopposed candidate – Tanya J. Babbitt (Republican, incumbent) – running for a partial term (ending November 20, 2024) for township clerk. She received 293 votes, according to posted election results.
In Beaver Creek Township, Louis Michael Lucida received 24 write-in votes for treasurer (partial term ending November 20, 2024). There was no listed candidate on the ballot, according to election information.
November 8 election voter turnout for the Crawford County precincts ranged from 37 percent (City of Grayling) to 67 percent (Lovells Township), according to the county’s election site. Overall, turnout in Crawford County was around 50 percent.
Cynthia Infante-Inman, Lovells Township Clerk, said November 8 “went well and smoothly, which was quite amazing given the huge turnout.”
“I commend my hardworking team. It was an extremely busy day and they worked tirelessly with barely a break or time to run the absentee ballots through the tabulator. It was so busy that we feared we would have to run the majority of the absentee ballots at the close of polls,” Infante-Inman said. “Lovells Township once again had the best turnout percentage in the county at 67 percent. Absentee ballots counted for 37 percent of our ballots cast.”
“I was a little concerned with the misinformation in social media regarding the integrity of the election process, but my election chairwoman and inspectors handled the issues well, ensuring that voters present were not intimidated and reassured as to the security of the process. Rest assured every vote was counted and privacy of electors maintained,” Infante-Inman said. “We were quite impressed with the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department as they made their presence known throughout the county. Deputy (Chase) Lohr and Sheriff (Ryan) Swope stopped in to check on us in the precinct three times; my team was very grateful.”
“Overall the general election at Frederic Township went well,” said Amanda Siwecki Frederic Township Clerk. “We have a great community here and I was very pleased with the amount of residents that showed up to vote. We had 674 voters total. I would also like to thank my election inspectors. They are a great group and I am so thankful for all of their help and dedication.”
“The election went well and ran smoothly,” said Brenda Nelson, South Branch Township Clerk. “We have a good group of election workers who work diligently for every voter, whether they walk through the door or vote absentee. They put in long hours and work hard until everything is completed. We had a good turnout and it was pretty steady throughout the day, 949 voters with almost 400 absentee voters. We have a good support system for election day from the state to the county, big thanks to them and to all the clerks and poll workers who put in the long hours to run our elections.”
“Everything went extremely well. We had a very busy day. We had 1,573 in-person voters and 1,234 absent voter ballots for a total of 2,807 ballots tabulated. I am very fortunate to have such a great team of election inspectors and a wonderful Deputy Clerk. They are dedicated and do an awesome job,” said Diane Giska, Grayling Charter Township Clerk.
Maple Forest Township reported higher in-person numbers than absentee ballots.
“We had 90 absentee voters and a grand total of 358 voters,” Babbitt said.
Beaver Creek officials said the township had to work through some issues with its voting machines during Tuesday’s election.
“Beaver Creek Township election team led by Clerk Sandy Beaudet worked a long hard day for the people,” said Dan Bonamie, Beaver Creek Township Supervisor. “I personally would like to thank each one of them. Everyone’s efforts are greatly appreciated and needed to make things run smooth as possible.”
“The issues we had were out of our staff’s hands. The voting machine failed first thing in the morning. The team followed protocol and secured ballots as they came in. Election source came quickly to work on the machine and could not fix it. They supplied a new machine, and our staff processed the ballots cast from when the machine was down. Things were working smooth for a short bit; the new machine started rejecting the ballots two to nine times before successfully reading them. Election source came back and repaired the new machine then cleaned it thoroughly to get it scanning again,” Bonamie said. “The Beaver Creek Township Board met. Sandy requested we approve an audit of the Beaver Creek election to include a hand count. I made the motion, Doug Yanniello supported, and the board unanimously approved. We want to ensure all votes were counted correctly and the machines did not mess anything up. If anything is found to not be 100 percent correct, the Secretary of State, our legislators, and the people of our community will be notified of the findings.”