Voting matters, and so does voter turnout.
While record breaking turnout is expected for tomorrow’s election, we won’t know the results for a few days still. However, past data and current polls can help put this into context. So, we are re-examining the voter turnout change between the 2012 and 2016 Presidential Elections.
In 2016 Republican areas in Southeastern Michigan experienced marginally increased turnout between the 2012 and 2016 Presidential elections. The focus of that increase was southern Macomb County and the Downriver area in Wayne County. Conversely, the traditionally Democratic areas in Wayne County experienced some of the largest voter turnout decreases. Detroit saw especially large decreases.
In Macomb County, 15 communities experienced voter turnout increase, with increases ranging between 2.5 and 0.06 percent. Ray Township experienced the largest voter increase at 2.5 percent. Another interesting community that experienced voter turnout increase was St. Clair Shores; this city that flipped from Democratic to Republican, and here voter turnout increased by 1.6 percent. There were also eight of the communities that experienced a voter turnout decrease between the 2012 and 2016 Presidential elections. It was Chesterfield Township that experienced the largest decrease in the county at 5.35 percent. Although Warren and Sterling Heights have been noted for having several precincts flip from Democratic to Republican between the two Presidential elections, both cities had areas that remained Democratic in 2016. Sterling Heights experienced a 2.7 percent voter turnout decrease in 2016 and Warren experienced a 1.5 percent decrease.
We have previously highlighted how in Oakland County higher income communities like Bloomfield Hills and Birmingham flipped from being Republican in the 2012 presidential election to Democratic in the 2016 election. These communities though experienced a voter turnout decrease between the two elections, as did majority of the Oakland County communities that went Democratic in 2016. With the exceptions of Ferndale, Madison Heights and Clawson, all of the Democratic communities experienced a voter turnout decrease in 2016. Ferndale had the largest voter turnout increase in the county at 11.6 percent while Berkley had the largest decrease at 23.7 percent.
Wayne County communities experienced some of the largest decreases in voter turnout in 2016, with Inkster experiencing a 26 percent decrease, River Rouge experiencing a 23 percent decrease and Redford and Detroit experiencing 11 percent decreases, each. Again, these communities all went Democratic in the 2016 election; they also went Democratic in the 2012 election.
Throughout much of Downriver, an area that flipped from Democratic to Republican in 2016, an increase in voter turnout occurred. Rockwood had the largest increase at 7 percent. The city of Flat Rock did flip from Democratic to Republican between the two elections, but experienced a 16.36 percent voter turnout decrease.
Hamtramck and Highland Park experienced the largest voter turnout increases in Wayne County; Hamtramck had a 12 percent increase and Highland Park had an 11 percent increase. Both cities went Democratic in the 2012 and 2016 elections.
In Washtenaw County, Ann Arbor Township had the highest voter turnout increase at 3.37 percent; this community went Democratic in both elections. The only Washtenaw County community that went Democratic in the 2016 election and experienced a voter turnout increase was Sylvan Township; it had a 0.37 percent increase. There were, however, several Republican communities in Washtenaw County that experienced voter turnout increases. For example, Northfield Township experienced a 19.6 percent voter turnout increase.
Overall, the data comparing the 2012 and 2016 Presidential elections show there were very few communities in Southeastern Michigan that experienced large voter turnout increases (above 10 percent). The marginal increases though occurred in areas that went Republican in the 2016 Presidential election, particularly in northern Macomb County, St. Clair County and the Downriver area in Wayne County. Voter turnout for this election will certainly impact the results.
According to the Michigan Secretary of State there are more than 8 million registered voters in the State of Michigan as of Nov. 1, 2020. Additionally, 6.76 million of those are considered active voters, according to the Michigan Secretary of State. Election officials are expecting the Nov. 3, 2020 Presidential Election to be record breaking in terms of the number of ballots cast, and as of late last week Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said more than 2.6 million Michigan residents had already cast a ballot, while about 3.3 million absentee ballots have been requested. Have questions about voter registration, your ballot or your polling location? Click here.