Grand Rapids voter turnout higher for 2016 election

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids City Clerk Darlene O’Neal credits new technology and additional staff for a successful presidential election in the city last week.

O’Neal says 63 percent of the city’s registered voters cast a ballot in the Nov. 8 election, up 2 percent from the last presidential election. However, the turnout was lower than the year President Barack Obama was first elected; approximately 66 percent of registered voters cast a ballot in 2008.

O’Neal says no major problems occurred at city polling places.

“(We had) improved processes, adequate staffing, (and) we leveraged technology when possible,” O’Neal told city commissioners during Tuesday morning’s meeting.

She says adding polling place leaders to guide workers helped the election run smoothly. This year, precinct workers equipped with tablets also helped ensure voters were registered and in the right place as they waited in line, instead of when they reached the booth.

She also says voters seemed more prepared this time election.

“They were out in relatively quick time. That’s because they studied the ballot,” added O’Neal.