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Michigan Turnout For Midterm Election Highest in 56 Years

Voters at MSU
Laura Michels
Voters line up at a precinct on the MSU campus on November 6, 2018.

About 4.2 million voters cast ballots in Michigan's midterm election, the highest turnout rate in 56 years.

Nearly 54 percent of the voting-age population participated, according to an Associated Press analysis, with a small number of ballots still uncounted as of Wednesday. Only the 1962 midterm prompted higher turnout. The state has records dating back nearly 70 years.

Youth heavy vote totals quadrupled in the East Lansing precinct, tripled in the Ann Arbor precinct and doubled in the Detroit precinct - NextGen.

The turnout percentage even neared levels in the 1996 and 1988 presidential races. Higher-than-usual absentee voting had signaled the increased voter interest everywhere.

"Yesterday truly was a historic day. We saw so much change happen, so many people come out to vote, a record turnout," said Gov.-elect Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat who will succeed term-limited Republican Gov. Rick Snyder.

Nearly 20 percent of Michigan voters did not vote in the 2014 midterm. Four percent of this year's voters were first-timers.

The findings were among preliminary results from AP VoteCast, an innovative nationwide survey of about 138,000 voters and nonvoters — including 3,943 voters and 649 nonvoters in the state of Michigan — conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago.

NextGen America, an advocacy group supported by billionaire liberal environmentalist Tom Steyer, reported success in its effort to mobilize young voters. It analyzed returns in select youth-dense precincts near the University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Wayne State University. Vote totals quadrupled in the East Lansing precinct, tripled in the Ann Arbor precinct and doubled in the Detroit precinct, according to NextGen.

Only the 1962 midterm prompted higher turnout.

About 194,000 people in Democratic-heavy Detroit cast ballots overall, nearly 28,000 — or 17 percent — more than four years ago and about 17,000, or 10 percent, more than 2010 — the last time there was an open gubernatorial race. In Republican-friendly Ottawa County in western Michigan, about 40,000 more voters participated than in 2014 or 2010 — an increase of between 44 percent and 46 percent from the 90,000 or so who voted in those general elections.

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