With school board recall on the ballot, Williamston voters hit the polls early

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Williamston Middle School parking lot for precinct 1 & 2. Photo by: Sadie Layher

 

A mock up voting booth table from an election inspector training session in Williamston. Photo by: Nick Forgrave

It was early Tuesday and Williamston’s polling location at the middle school had a parking lot of 30 to 35 cars with many voters varying in age.

As of 11:30 a.m, Williamston City Clerk Holly Thompson reported precinct one, with 330 votes, and precinct two with 260 votes, not counting the absentee ballots cast before election day.

Some voters, like Eric Rasche, said voting was part of their “civic duty” despite the “hostile political climate” surrounding not just the Williamston School Board but the wider political climate in general.

Carolyn McLaughlin shares her feeling on the election after she cast her ballot. Photo by: Sadie Layher

“I really don’t think it will [change the atmosphere of Williamston], because there’s a lot of people on both sides. Just like any election, if your person doesn’t get in office, it doesn’t really change the way things go,” Carolyn McLoughlin said.

McLoughlin felt that the plethora of signs around town got her out to the polls.

“I mainly saw the signs around town, and there was stuff on Facebook. I think it made me angry, it made me go, ‘I’m not voting for you!’” McLoughlin said.

Michael Havens said that the ads didn’t affect his voting decision, however he did agree that the outcome of the election won’t have a large effect on the political climate of Williamston.

“I don’t think [the atmosphere] will change too much,” Havens said.

Danielle O’Horn brought her 5-year-old daughter to vote with her, as did many other parents.

“I think it’s important to teach them at a young age that you do have a voice, and a choice, and an opinion in what goes on around them,” O’Horn said. “Before having kids, you don’t think it’s going to affect that many people. Then after having kids, you’re like ‘This is they’re future, this is what they’re going to be seeing.’ I want her to know that we get to help other decide on what’s going to be best for her.”

Talk about a recall election began when community members wanted to elect new members to the school board after the current board passed a policy acknowledging transgender rights within the school district.

“I didn’t believe in this recall [the School Board] thing, mainly because their signs say ‘Every student counts’, therefore, every student should count, whatever gender you want to be,” McLaughlin said. “It really isn’t that they’re letting all these kids into the bathrooms. I personally feel, because I work with the band and the drama, I work with a lot of kids who lean different ways. I just feel that we need to protect every student, regardless.”

The story will be updated throughout the day. Follow @MIFirstElection on Twitter for updates on the election.