How Grand Rapids is preparing for high voter turnout

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — On Tuesday, Michigan voters will decide some key elected positions in Washington and Lansing, as well as three statewide ballot questions. You may also be looking at some local issues when you go to cast your ballot.

With so many races and a high level of interest, voter turnout should be high. Officials at Grand Rapids City Hall are predicting a 53 percent turnout. Next door, Kent County officials are planning for a 60 or 65 percent turnout. Ottawa County officials say turnout there could be as high as 70 percent.

The predicted 53 percent turnout in Grand Rapids compares to 36 percent for the 2014 midterm. It's closer to the 2016 presidential election, when 63 percent of city voters cast ballots. Add to that a long ballot with a long list of candidates and issues, and some voters could be looking at a long wait in line.

City Clerk Joel Hondorp said his crews are ready. The state requires clerks to print enough general election ballots for very registered voter, so paper won't be a problem. And the city is basing staffing and equipment levels on the 2016 presidential election turnout numbers.

Still, there are bound to be problems, like voters ending up in the wrong line or wrong polling location all together. To combat that, the city is promoting a good neighbor policy.

“If you're in line and you notice somebody's struggling to figure out if they're in the right place, most people have cellphones now, so help your neighbor. You can go to and help them figure out if they're in the right place," Hondorp said.

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