DEARBORN- Even though the primary voting in Dearborn has been slow since the polls opened at 8 a.m. this morning, volunteers remain optimistic.
According to data from the city clerk’s office, there are 50 precincts and a total of 60,752 registered voters.
At McDonald Elementary School, the turnout seemed to be unfavorably low this morning and so Mayor Jack O’Reilly, who is running for reelection, spoke about the need for the state to encourage higher voter turnout because it’s visibly lacking, especially in the summer when residents are vacationing.
At around 11:10 a.m., precinct 1 had 47 votes and precinct 2 had 32 votes at McDonald.
Out of 1850 registered voters, only 76 had voted at the St. Alphonsus Building on Schaefer by 11: 40 a.m.
Amer Zahr, a local activist and campaign manager for mayoral candidate Jim Parelly, said the volunteers’ energy attracts voters to communicate with them and hear what they have to say.
Unlike other campaigners, he said the voter turnout is higher than expected in the east end.
“One of the things that we expected in this election is for the Arab American community to get a lot more engaged and mobilized from everything that’s been going on in the past years,” he said. “So, that’s very promising.”
At Maple Elementary School, two campaigners, one of whom is a newly registered voter, said that they’ve mostly seen senior residents at the polls. However, they believe that will change later in the afternoon when people get off work.
The 18-year-old new voter plans to head off to her precinct before the polls close to vote. She said not many people her age are registered, which can play a role in the low voter turnout.
By 1 p.m., only 95 voters showed up at the elementary school.
Outside of Lowrey Middle School, young campaigners also displayed their enthusiasm. Dressed in various campaign t-shirts, the volunteers gathered to speak to Councilman Mike Sareini, who had stopped by to chat with them.
Sareini told The AANews that the construction around the school is not stopping voters or volunteers from coming through.
About 1800 voters are registered at the Lowrey precincts, but only 82 had showed up by 12:40 p.m.
At Becker Elementary School, only 64 had voted by 1:30 p.m. out of 1437 registered voters.
At around 2:20 p.m., precincts at Salina had a total of 163 votes.
A campaigner there said that it has been slow since the morning. Only 70 residents cast their votes by 2 p.m.
“We’re counting on more people to come after 5 p.m. when people get off work,” she said.
The precincts at William Ford Elementary had a combined 126 votes by 2:54 p.m. By 7 p.m., 102 additional votes were cast.
Dearborn teacher and radio host Zinab Zreik, who is volunteering there, told The AANews that it hasn’t been as active as she hoped it would be.
“It could be because of the construction behind us,” she said, adding that they had to call City Hall to ensure a sign is placed at the parking lot entrance that indicates voting is taking place at William Ford.
“On three different occasions, we had individuals telling us that they thought the school was closed and there was no voting taking place until they came around and saw volunteers,” she said. “For a good three hours, there were only five voters who came in the morning.”
By 6:20 p.m., precincts at Edsel Ford High School had 139 votes.
There is only an hour and a half left until the polls close at 8 p.m.