Nov 4, 2022 - Politics

Detroit Clerk expects lower turnout than 2018

Detroit Clerk Janice Winfrey stand behind a podium in front of advisor Daniel Baxter

Detroit Clerk Janice Winfrey and Daniel Baxter, who oversees the absentee counting process. Photo: Samuel Robinson/Axios

City of Detroit Clerk Janice Winfrey said in a news conference yesterday that she expects a lower turnout — about 28-33% — than in the most recent midterm election.

Why it matters: A low turnout in Detroit, the state's largest majority Black city, could spell trouble for Democrats.

What's happening: The city is taking advantage of a recent legal change allowing clerks to preprocess absentee ballots two days before Election Day.

  • Officials say they expect to begin processing about 60,000 absentee ballots this Sunday, with an additional 15,000-18,000 before Election Day.

What they're saying: "We have a plan in place to ensure that every poll worker, every challenger and every person that comes in here on Election Day is safe and feels comfortable effectively performing their duties," city election adviser Daniel Baxter told reporters yesterday.

  • "We've had conversations with our corporation counsel, the secretary of state, the attorney general's office and more importantly, the Detroit Police Department."

Between the lines: Rules issued earlier this year by Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson will remain in place after a state Supreme Court decision yesterday reversed a decision allowing poll challengers to use their phones, which was seen as a win for Republicans.

  • Chris Thomas, a longtime election administrator and adviser to the city, warned last week that had Benson's appeal on the decision not been successful, conflict over phone use was likely between election workers and poll challengers.

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