DETROIT – Turnout for an August primary is typically unremarkable (unless you find it remarkable that such a small percentage of the citizenry will decide direction of the city’s leadership). City Clerk Janice Winfrey said her office was preparing for a large turnout, which was baffling though, to give her the benefit of the doubt, perhaps she meant that her office has to be prepared for a large turnout no matter the expectations. I should note it’s noteworthy that this is the city’s first run with its new voting machines. Hopefully, we’ll see a more timely and efficient tallying of the ballots that are cast.
Clearly, we’re not on the turf of the primary four years ago when Mike Duggan was forced to mount a write-in campaign. And I imagine the daily drama in Washington is taking up a lot of the political oxygen at the local levels and that may be tamping down the talk and excitement around this primary. But it’s a terribly important primary – any mayoral election is. But it’s also the second election of the new council by district system. And we currently have something that has been rather unusual in the city – a council and mayor that seem to like each other and work with at the very least a degree of civility and respect. Will that change at all?
There is an argument that goes on rather quietly behind the scenes in political circles as to whether it’s wise to encourage voters to “Get out and vote!” Should everyone be casting a ballot? Or are we better served by relying on the judgement of those who’ve bothered to become acquainted with the issues and the candidates, those who need no exhortation to get to the polls? I’ll leave that to you to ponder as we await the ballots.