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'I believe people just want to see change...'

Voter turnout high in Nov. 2 election

November 03, 2010 - If you are a registered voter in Groveland Township and didn't cast a ballot Tuesday, you were in the minority.

Clerk Pam Mazich reported that out of 4,223 registered voters in the township, 2,171, or 51.41 percent, turned out to vote. She noted this is higher than normal turnout for a gubernatorial election by 10-15 percent.

Brandon Township also had very good voter turnout, said Elections Coordinator Karen McArthur, with 5,456 registered voters casting ballots out of 11,386, or 47.92 percent.

While the turnout was good, it wasn't in the 70 percent range that McArthur said county officials had forecast, nor was it quite as good as four years ago, when 5,500 Brandon Township voters turned out for the gubernatorial election. Still, she was pleased with the turnout and believes it was prompted by frustration.

"I believe people just want to see change," McArthur said. "They think it will help what the state is going through, the current situation... I think that's why they voted for a governor who is not a politician."

Brandon and Groveland township voters overwhelmingly voted Republican in most races, which is usual for this area. In Brandon, 71.94 percent of voters cast their ballot for winning governor candidate Rick Snyder, with only 25.57 percent voting for Democrat Virg Bernero. In Groveland, the margin was even wider— 73.74 percent for Snyder and 24.04 percent for Bernero.

Ruth Johnson, the Republican candidate for Secretary of State who is also a Groveland Township resident, won by a landslide in both townships, too— taking more than 68 percent of the vote in Brandon and 72 percent of the vote in Groveland.

In the battle for the 1st District County Commissioner seat, Republican Beth Nuccio, a Brandon Township resident, had a decisive victory, with more than 62 percent of the vote in both Brandon and Groveland townships, defeating Democrat Ken Quisenberry of Ortonville.

"I am grateful for the confidence the voters have in me and I'm going to work hard to represent them well," said Nuccio. "I want to make sure that we continue to have a balanced budget and are able to provide essential services to the taxpayers."

The new county commissioner will now exit her position on the Brandon School Board, to which a new member must be appointed. Whoever is appointed will join a school board that includes newcomer Le Anne Schmidt, the top vote getter Tuesday out of four candidates vying for two open school board trustee seats. Schmidt received 30.37 percent of the votes in Groveland Township and 29.95 percent of the votes in Brandon.

"The election process was a unique experience for me," said Schmidt. "I've already learned so much and know I will continue to learn more. I feel an awesome responsibility to meet the expectations of the people. I really appreciate the people who voted for me and trust me. I want to be able to communicate information to the community so they understand our needs and our goals. When we communicate and are all on the same page, then we can really get things done."

Incumbent Greg Allar was re-elected to the Brandon School Board with 26.73 percent of the vote in Brandon and 27.45 percent of the vote in Groveland.

"I truly appreciate the support of all the people who voted for me," he said. "I will do my utmost to earn their trust and respect. The challenges we have are all economic based on the situation in Michigan and our objective to meet the curriculum that the state has now mandated we deliver. Most importantly, we want to provide our kids with the skills that will be useful to them in the 21st century."

While the look of the school board will change somewhat with Schmidt and whomever replaces Nuccio, the Ortonville Village Council is about to get a major overhaul.

The Nov. 2 election resulted in four new members on the council. Wayne Wills is the new Ortonville council president, receiving 61.11 percent of the vote and defeating longtime council member Kay Green.

Incumbent Melanie Nivelt lost a close race for a partial term trustee seat to Debbie Baker, who received 199 votes, just 15 more than Nivelt's 185. Also elected as shoo-ins to three available trustee seats were Tom Peters (38.49 percent), incumbent Coleen Skornicka (29.85 percent) and Liz Waters (29.99 percent).

"I'm gratified, yet humbled by my win," said Wills. There are (four) new boardmembers out of a council of seven, we need a planning and orientation session to become better acquainted with the challenges before us— dealing with continued declining tax revenue, continuing improvements that have been greatly appreciated, by the DPW, in the last year in particular, and helping all councilmembers to become better aware of the newly revised master plan."

In Brandon Township, Cheryl Gault will return to the board of trustees. She ran unopposed on the November ballot.

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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