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[SE END] From the Polls: 3rd Ward, Precincts 9 &10

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Voting sign outside of Mulick Park Elementary

Voting sign outside of Mulick Park Elementary /George Wietor

By 11:40 a.m. this morning, 96 voters had entered their decision at the polling station for the 3rd Ward’s precincts 9 and 10 at Mulick Park Elementary, 1761 Rosewood Ave. SE. Despite a contested race for 3rd Ward commissioner, only around 4.5% of the more than 2,000 registered voters, had been through the polling station’s door since it opened at 7 a.m., 42 of which were pre-submitted absentee votes.

Precincts 9 and 10, which count incumbent 3rd ward commisioner candidate James White amongst their residents, covers the eastern part of the middle of the 3rd Ward in Grand Rapids' Southeast side.

“It’s pretty typical for an off year,” said the precinct chairperson, who wished to remain anonymous.

Another precinct resident, Jennifer Proctor, a film and video professor at Grand Valley State University, wasn’t surprised by the seemingly low turnout but continues to vote anyway.

“I vote because I believe it is my civic duty and responsibility to share in decisions that affect my community,” she said. “I don’t know why people don’t vote.”

Phylis, a polling station volunteer who declined to give her last name, has volunteered with city elections on and off since John F. Kennedy was in office. She echoed the precinct chairperson’s sentiment. 

“Last year we were busy right up until 8,” she added. “with lines out the door.“

Frances Carnemaat, who has volunteered with the precinct since retiring from the Christian Reformed World Mission in 2003, respects the process because she is “very patriotic. It’s wonderful that we have the privilege [to vote].”

Carnemaat, who lived in Nigeria for 21 years, continued, “I lived in a country where they had to kill a leader to get a new one. It happened while I lived there. It made me more patriotic. It made me realize what I had.”

In addition to 3rd Ward city commissioner, other items on the ballot include city comptroller, two positions with the library commission, as well as a proposal to renew the previously authorized millage that allows Grand Rapids Public Schools to levy up to 18 mills against property tax.

All city polling stations are open until 8:00pm this evening. Find yours on the Michigan Voter Information Center.

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... I was only number 59 at my precinct.