Making Sure Everyone Is Awake

You never know about the reliability of Election Day turnout reports. Sometimes they are based on whatever precinct happens to be close to a reporter’s path to the office, or where election officials are quick to answer their phones. But initial reports from Michigan indicate that for all the importance of today’s primary–important enough, it seems, to spur another round of panic-stricken “new candidate!” calls in the event Mitt Romney loses–voters are not real excited.

Here’s an snippet of the turnout story from the Detroit Free Press:

In Sterling Heights, interest seems to be down from the November election when voters chose a mayor and a city council, said clerk Walt Blessed. In that election, more than 9,000 voters requested absentee ballots. For this one, the number is about 7,600.

“We ended up with about 24% turnout,” in November, Blessed said. “It indicates to me that we’ll have about 20% turnout today.”

Port Huron Township Clerk Benita Davis said one of her precincts had tallied only 47 votes by 10 a.m., about 3% of eligible voters.

In Grandville, Clerk Mary Meines said fewer than 5% of voters in the middle class neighborhoods that comprise Precinct 6 had shown up early. Meines said she hadn’t seen many signs of intense interest in the primary, despite several local appearances by Romney, Santorum and Paul.

Election day turnout has been slow in Oakland County’s West Bloomfield Township, Deputy Clerk Joe Munem said early this afternoon.

“At the polls, we’re going around making sure everyone is still awake,” he said.

Clearly, Mitt Romney is not the only Michigan Republican whose hair is not on fire.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.