Light Voter Turnout Gives Wins to Millage Votes New and Renewed in SWM

Voter turnout in the off year spring election today kept pollworkers challenged with how best to keep busy during long lulls throughout the day, but there were some critical issues on the ballot in Michigan's Great Southwest which have now been decided.

In case you missed it, today, Tuesday, May 7th, 2019 was Election Day in 65 of Michigan's 83 counties, including some communities in each of Berrien, Cass and Van Buren Counties.

In Berrien County there were three issues on the ballot today. The St. Joseph Public Schools sought renewal of an 18-mill operating millage for five years, which was passed overwhelmingly 1,833 to 464. The city's voters gave the green light by a vote of 753 to 149. School voters in St. Joseph Township supported the renewal 624 to 184...Lincoln Township's sole precinct in the district approved it 90 to 41, and Royalton Township voters concurred, 366 to 90. In Royalton Township, besides the school vote, two issues were on the ballot, and both passed. The community sought renewal of 1-mill for 7-years for Fire, Ambulance and Library services, which was approved by a vote of 518 to 90, while a new levy appeared on the ballot as well, in search of 1/8th of a mill for five years for the purchase of fire equipment. That levy was approved also, 459 to 146. Royalton had just under 15-percent of the eligible voters turn out. They also supported the St. Joe school millage by a more than 3 to 1 margin. Berrien County's turnout was just over 13.5-percent of those registered.

In Cass County, Edwardsburg Public Schools asked for renewal of an 18-mill operating millage, and the community of Edwardsburg sought a new 20-year, 2-mill levy for street repairs and maintenance. Meanwhile, Jefferson Township asked for 1-mill for 2-years for road issues, and in both Mason and Porter Townships, a $7.75 million bonding proposal for White Pigeon Community Schools was being sought to enact 1.09-mills for up to 5 years. Cass County vote totals have been slow to come in tonight, but most issues appeared to be gaining approval there.

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In Van Buren County, Lawton Community Schools had a $4.5-million bonding proposal before voters designed to levy a half mill on property taxes. Voters in Antwerp & Porter Townships both supported that millage by a combined tally of 471 to 261. The community of Bangor elected a Mayor and City Council Members alongside an ask for voter approval of a half-mill for 5-years for the Bangor Historical Society which squeaked through 128 to 104. In the mayoral race Darren Williams outpolled Steven Lowder 145 to 97. A partial 1-year council seat was won by Rebecca Eisner over James France 122 to 89, a 2-year partial seat had Jovita Alcarez unchallenged with 185 votes, and in the regular council race the tallies were Lynne Farmer 148, Ethel Bartlett 123, and Amber Burger 91. Overall, Van Buren County turned out just over 19-percent of the eligible voters on the day.