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Election orderly, turnout low, many unmarked ballots

August 06, 2014 - Atlas Twp.- As expected, voter turnout in Tuesday's primary election was low.

"So far, we estimate voter turnout to be about 15 percent," said Tere Onica, township clerk, on Wednesday morning. "The gubernatorial elections have historically low voter turnout—ranging from 18-20 percent."

The election went well, reported Onica.

"We did have a lot of unmarked ballots—it seems voters don't like to split their tickets in the primary," she said. "Voters don't like to choose a party, so they just don't vote. But, they still want to exercise their right to vote."

The August election also ushered in new rules for the four township precincts regarding candidate signs.

Earlier this year township officials amended the existing sign ordinances to encompass a new set of guidelines for political signs at the polls on election day. The new rules include no more than one sign per candidate or ballot issue; no sign shall exceed 16 square feet total area; no part of any sign shall exceed 4 feet above the existing grade; signs may be located no closer than 100 feet from the nearest point of the polling place structure, nor closer than 4 feet from the travelled surface of the polling place driveway, nor within the road right-of-way in front of the polling place property and signs may be placed no earlier than 6 a.m. on the day of the election, and must be removed no later than 11 p.m. on the day of the election.

"Many of the candidates call our office prior to the election to check on the rules," she said. "As a result everything looked and went great, the signs were evenly spaced out and we had just a few that had to be moved. No altercations or calls from ACLU regarding violations of the First Amendment rights."

The results from the election included: Genesee County Commissioner 5th District, Bill Delaney 842, Cathy Lane 1,104 and Matt Telliga 1,147 or 37 percent of the votes.

State Senator 14th District: Democrat Bobbie Walton recived 3,308 votes defeating Democrat Tim Terpening with 1,725. Walton will face Republican Incumbent Sen. David Robertson in the November election. Judge of the 67th District Court, 2nd Division, Goodrich native Jennifer Manley recived 4,176, Matthew Karr 3,228 and Lori Tallman 2,058. 51st District Representative Incumbent Republican Joe Graves received 3,453 votes topping challenger Sheila Barr with 1,002. Graves will face Democrat Ken Thomas in November.

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