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Tuesday's voter turnout was Michigan's strongest in decades

Tuesday's vote would not, however, approach the midterm record of 74.5 percent reached in 1962.
A woman casts her vote inside the gym of the Bowens Center in Pontiac on Tuesday, August 7, 2018.(Photo: Eric Seals, Detroit Free Press)

LANSING — Turnout in Tuesday's midterm election was the strongest in decades, based on preliminary numbers.

With 93 percent of precincts reporting, more than 3.9 million of Michigan's 7.4 million registered voters had cast ballots in the governor's race, the Associated Press reported.

That means that when all the votes are in, turnout is sure to exceed the 53.6 percent voter participation reached in 2006 — the recent high for a midterm election — and could rival or exceed the turnout rates of 55.8 percent and 57.1 percent, reached in 1982 and 1978 respectively, based on records from the Michigan Secretary of State's Office.

►Related: Turnout high for midterm election in West Michigan

Tuesday's vote would not, however, approach the midterm record of 74.5 percent reached in 1962, according to data on the website of the Secretary of State's Office.

Long lines to vote were reported around the state. Tuesday's election was the first one since the GOP-controlled Legislature banned straight-ticket voting, and that could have been a factor in slowing the voting process.

Percentage turnout in midterm elections in Michigan is typically in the 40s in recent years, with percentage participation in presidential-year elections in the 60s. Turnout in the 2016 general election in Michigan was just under 65 percent.

Debbie Miller, the clerk for Rose Township in northern Oakland County, said Tuesday afternoon that voter turnout had been steady all day.

"We’ve had more absentees than ever," she said. "And we’ve had more people at this election than (the) 2016 presidential (election)."

Ingham County reported turnout of just under 60 percent Tuesday.

Tuesday's strong turnout followed record turnout in Michigan's August primary.

Staff writer Ann Zaniewski contributed to this report.

Contact Paul Egan: 517-372-8660 or pegan@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @paulegan4.

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