Source: Sherman Publications

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Graves wins 51st House

by David Fleet

February 29, 2012

Atlas Twp.-In November, local voters narrowly recalled 51st House State Representative Paul Scott from office. On Tuesday, township voters chose Republican Joseph Graves to fulfill a partial term that will end Jan.1, 2013.

Graves received 10,290 votes (53 percent) while Democrat Steven Losey tallied 8,173 votes (42 percent). Green Party candidate Cary Neuville-Justice had 803 votes (14 percent). The 51st District covers Atlas, Argentine, Grand Blanc, Fenton and Mundy townships and includes the cities of Grand Blanc, Linden, and Fenton, in addition to the villages of Argentine and Goodrich.

Graves, 58, a first-term Genesee County commissioner--Sixth District, will resign after the Genesee County Board of Canvassers certify Tuesday's election. The county will then find a replacement for his seat.

In Atlas Township Graves received 983 votes, Losey garnered 634, while Neuville-Justice had 69 votes. In the presidential primary, Mitt Romney had 523 votes, Rick Santorum received 504 votes and Newt Gingrich had 129 votes. President Obama had 190 votes.

"The election went very well," said Tere Onica, Atlas Township clerk. "The Republican Party had poll challengers in all the precincts—they were very well- behaved."

About 29 percent of registered township voters turned out for the election, added Onica.

"It's very good for a primary election. The race for the 51st House drove up the voter activity. Typically 18 to 20 percent vote in a primary."

Officially 1,744 of 6,046 registered voters cast ballots on Tuesday.

"I think people had a difficult time deciding who to vote for," said Onica. "The other issue voters had was they don't like to say what type of ballot they want—whether Republican or Democrat. Voters want to protect their integrity—ballots are supposed to be anonymous."

The political party can find out who voted, but not who they voted for, added Onica.

"That leads to phone calls when the next election comes around," she said. "That will be Aug. 7 when several local primary elections will be on the ballot—including the 51st House seat again."