Ingham County voters leaned heavily toward renewing a property tax to support Potter Park Zoo. With 81 percent of precincts reporting, 77 percent of voters elected to renew a 0.41 mill tax to support the Lansing zoo. For the owner of a $200,000 home, this tax costs $41 a year. Because it is a renewal, residents’ taxes did not go up. Potter Park and the Potter Park Zoo have been a staple of the Lansing community for more than 100 years, since 1915. The park and zoo were under control of the city of Lansing until 2006, when the cost of maintaining the zoo became too big a burden for the city.
Democratic incumbent state Rep. Tom Cochran, D-Mason, faces challenger Republican Leon Clark to represent the 67th District in the state House. With 60 percent of precincts reporting, Cochran leads Clark 56 percent to 44 percent. The 67th District spans much of southern Ingham County. Looking to win his third and final term in office, Cochran previously served on the Lansing Fire Department for over 29 years. Born and raised in Lansing, Cochran has been a mid-Michigan resident his entire life.
The majority of precincts in Meridian saw high voter turnout during the first hour that polls were open. In Precinct 1, there was a 40-45 minute wait during the first hour, and in Precinct 5 nearly 10 percent of registered voters turned out then. “During that period, we had about a minute per voter,” said Precinct 1 chairwoman Beverly Stephens. “Right now, we have 697 ballots.”
“In the first 50 minutes, 160 people came in,” said Precinct 5 chairman Jim Brazier. “We are approaching about 700 votes.”
One challenge during early hours voting was the ballot tabulator jamming and saying the ballot was defective.
Meridian’s second voting precinct at Haslett High School tried to get ahead of the game by taking two hours Monday night to set up and prepare for the big day. Despite the effort, an early crash in the voting booth computers brought a rough start to Election Day. A glitch in the booth computers halted the operation just minutes after the doors opened, which made an already long line get even worse. “Oh yeah, it caused a jam,” said precinct co-chair Ginger Petty. “The line snaked all around inside the gym and even started outside the door at one point.
Michigan voters head to the polls today with the Great Lakes State playing an increasingly key role in the race to decide the nation’s next commander-in-chief. Polls across the state are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., where voters also will choose their candidates in a variety of state and local races.
National election scandals mean more people at the polls this year–and there’s one non-partisan item on the ballot that local elementary school teacher Sara Nemeth says you should look twice at. That’s the Potter Park Zoo Millage, which is up for renewal this year. Without the millage, zoo staff says they wouldn’t be able to do half of their operations. Gate prices alone don’t cut it for the accredited zoo. The millage would cost a person with a property value of $100,000 and a state taxable value of $50,000 around $20.50 per year.
Both Republican candidate Eric Trojanowicz, a retired captain from the Ingham County Sheriff’s Office, and Democratic candidate Scott Wriggelsworth, a lieutenant with the East Lansing Police department, say they are the change the Ingham County Sheriff Department needs.
Jeanne Day-Labo spent dozens of hours each week volunteering for MILegalize, an organization aiming to legalize recreational marijuana in Michigan. The woman stood on intersections and other high-traffic locations gathering signatures to get a question on November’s ballot. In the end, MILegalize came up short. Although the organization turned in more than 370,000 certified signatures, well above the 252,000 required, the organization failed to collect the signatures within the mandated 180-day window. The activist said she believed Michigan’s laws work against grassroots and volunteer-based organizations.