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Voter Turnout In Detroit Gets A Slow Start On Election Day

(CBS DETROIT) - After a historic election in 2020, a fraction of Detroiters participated in this year's General Election.

"I was number 49 today when I voted at the Northwest Activities Center," said Detroit voter Charlie Franks, who submitted his ballot around noon.

City Clerk Janice Winfrey predicted a 15% to 20% turnout, citing bouts of corruption in City Hall contributed to a loss in voter interest.

"I think you know it's looking drastically low. I just really wanted to see everybody come out and feel excited about voting," Franks continued.

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson made a stop at the Northwest Activities Center in Detroit Tuesday to cast her ballot.

The popular polling location saw light to moderate traffic, despite serving four precincts.

"We're seeing a steady stream of voters participating," Benson said.

"We know usually in local election years we don't see as high turnout as we see in presidential years."

Last year, 55% of voters participated in the Presidential Election in Detroit.

Roughly, 120,000 people submitted absentee ballots; 75,000 voted in-person, bringing the total Detroit 2020 turnout near 200,000.

"What we saw last year was really remarkable because not just in the general but also in the August Primary of 2020 we saw a number of more people voting, a number of more people using absentee ballots, so I expect those trends to continue," Benson said.

The Detroit Department of Elections announced two-thirds of voters will go the absentee route in 2021, leading to a slow stream of voters on Election Day.

"We are seeing more people trending to use the absentee ballot processes, the drop boxes, that's the biggest movement we're seeing," Benson said.

"More people are taking advantage of their options to vote and we'll potentially see an uptick compared to previous municipal elections."


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