Charlevoix County: Local perspective on 2016 presidential primary elections

boyne city commission election november 2015
“Charlevoix County frequently has greater voter turnout than the rest of Michigan and the nation as a whole. I am confident that we will continue this trend in November.” —Charlevoix County Democratic Party Chairman Kris Busk
Richard McDowell proudly prepares to put his ballot in the machine and shows off his sticker for voting on Tuesday March 8 at Boyne Valley Township Hall.
Richard McDowell proudly prepares to put his ballot in the machine and shows off his sticker for voting on Tuesday March 8 at Boyne Valley Township Hall.


Two of the big surprises from the Tuesday March 8 presidential primary election may have been the big wins by Democrat Bernie Sanders and Republican Donald J. Trump … but, the third notable from that night had to be the increase in voter turnout.

According to local elections, municipal and political party officials, there was a significant increase in ballots cast over years prior.

“We were nothing but excited and pleased for the high level of turnout that took place here at city hall,” said Boyne City Manager Michael Cain.

The Boyne City Gazette also spoke with leaders of Charlevoix County’s GOP as well as its Democratic Party for their take on the presidential primary.


According to figures provided by Boyne City Clerk Cindy Grice, voter turnout nearly doubled from the last presidential primary election.

2016 Presidential Primary
1,061 voters out of 2,968 or 35%

2012 Presidential Primary
477 voters out of approx 2,880 or 16%

2008 Presidential Primary
845 voters out of approx 2,850 or 29%

Grice said the city attributed the higher turnout in 2008 to the fact that a major and contentious city parking referendum was also on the ballot.

Republican Response
Charlevoix County Republican Party Vice-Chair Wes Dilworth said the most interesting thing to him on election night was that Charlevoix County lined up statistically almost identically with the state results.

“There was a real strong voter turnout so I guess the people have spoken,” Dilworth said. “I think (voters) are in the mood for a change… I just hope Trump has the temperament to pull it off.”

He added, “I think it is going to be very telling who he picks for vice-president.”

Dilworth said Ohio Governor John Kasich would make a great choice for VP.

“The nice thing about John Kasich is he has proven himself,” Dilworth said. “When he left Washington, he left clean with no baggage.”

As far as the tumultuous air surrounding wild cards in both parties, Dilworth said the following:

“What I’m pretty much hearing, universally, is each party will stand behind their nominee,” he said.

Democrat Response
Charlevoix County Democratic Party Chairman Kris Busk responded to the same set of questions posed to the local Republican Party.

Busk explained that it is more difficult to make a fair comparison between democratic elections this year and years past because 2016 was the first time since 1992 that Michigan Democrats have participated in a statewide presidential primary rather than caucuses.

“Primaries provide a great opportunity for more people to have a say in who their nominee will be,” Busk told the Boyne City Gazette in a Saturday March 12 e-mailed response. “In our 1st Congressional district, 75,038 Democrats voted and in Charlevoix County 2,846 Democrats voted. This level of interest and participation is fantastic and tells us that people are engaged in the political process and excited about our candidates. This will likely translate to a high participation in the November election as well.”

Busk agreed with the prevailing notion that Bernie Sanders’ win in this state was a surprise.
“All the polls told us differently. But, it is an example of how difficult polling is these days,” she stated. “Most polls rely on landlines, not cell phones.

This tends to leave young people out of the polls and young people are a strong component of the Sanders coalition.”

Busk added, “Here in Charlevoix County, some of our election inspectors noticed a substantial increase in voting by young people, many of whom are excited and enthusiastic Sanders supporters.

Their participation is likely one of the factors that led to the Sanders win in Charlevoix County.”

Busk said the mood of local Dems seems to be fairly consistent in the level of passion between Clinton and Sanders supporters.

“There have been a lot of interesting and substantive conversations about the differences in their proposed policies and positions on issues,” she stated. “Where I find consensus among Charlevoix Dems is that we all agree that we are lucky to have two such outstanding candidates to choose from. Once the Democratic nomination is settled, Charlevoix Dems will unite to work hard for our candidate.”

Busk added, “Charlevoix County frequently has greater voter turnout than the rest of Michigan and the nation as a whole. I am confident that we will continue this trend in November.”

Statewide voter turnout was nearly 34 percent while Charlevoix County was closer to 36 percent.

As far as the Republican presidential field is concerned, Busk said she was not surprised by Trump’s win.

“When I talk with Democrats about the Republican race, most are dismayed by the lack of both civility and professionalism of the Republican candidates,” she said.

“We also have quite a few retired teachers in our local party and they are horrified that bullying is being tolerated as acceptable behavior.”

Busk said Democrats understand the anger and frustration of Trump supporters, especially how many American workers feel like they have been left out of the economic recovery that followed the 2008 recession.

“A Republican controlled Congress and Republicans in all three levels of Michigan’s government continue to enact legislation that hurts workers,” she stated. “International trade agreements that result in lost jobs and lower wages, passage of Right to Work, defunding of programs to retrain workers in technology-based manufacturing jobs, and severely decreased funding of Michigan’s colleges all hurt American families.”

Busk added, “It is astounding to Democrats that those angry workers are supporting Donald Trump, who is running for … the party that has hurt American workers the most.”

Following are 2016 Michigan Presidential Primary results for Charlevoix County

Only those candidates still in the race have been included. Some people voted absentee for candidates who are no longer running. This accounts for vote totals that may not add up.

County-wide Totals

Ted Cruz – 1,182
John Kasich – 1,208
Marco Rubio – 455
Donald J. Trump – 1,886
Hilary Clinton – 1,044
Bernie Sanders – 1,730

Votes By Precinct

Bay Township
Voter turnout 41.15 percent of voters showed up at the polls. That is 414 out of 1,006 registered voters in the township.
Ted Cruz – 65
John Kasich – 63
Marco Rubio – 30
Donald J. Trump – 100
Hilary Clinton – 53
Bernie Sanders – 95

Boyne Valley Township
310 people out of 1,073—or 28.89 percent—of registered voters cast ballots in this township.
Ted Cruz – 38
John Kasich – 35
Marco Rubio – 11
Donald J. Trump – 100
Hilary Clinton – 45
Bernie Sanders – 65

Chandler Township
85 of this township’s 210 registered voters—40.48 percent—cast their ballots.
Ted Cruz – 14
John Kasich – 11
Marco Rubio – 8
Donald J. Trump – 22
Hilary Clinton – 10
Bernie Sanders – 19

Charlevoix Township
608 of this township’s 1,518 registered voters—or 40.05 percent—cast ballots in the Presidential Primary.
Ted Cruz – 88
John Kasich – 124
Marco Rubio – 44
Donald J. Trump – 132
Hilary Clinton – 87
Bernie Sanders – 104

Evangeline Township
Just over 36 percent of the voters turned out in this township with 243 of the 674 registered voters casting ballots.
Ted Cruz – 42
John Kasich – 42
Marco Rubio – 16
Donald J. Trump – 58
Hilary Clinton – 35
Bernie Sanders – 47

Eveline Township
538 of Eveline’s 1,356 registered voters—39.68 percent—cast ballots.
Ted Cruz – 83
John Kasich – 86
Marco Rubio – 32
Donald J. Trump – 141
Hilary Clinton – 68
Bernie Sanders – 89

Hayes Township
645 of this township’s 1,656 registered voters—or 38.95 percent—cast their ballots.
Ted Cruz – 106
John Kasich – 101
Marco Rubio – 42
Donald J. Trump – 146
Hilary Clinton – 98
Bernie Sanders – 127

Hudson Township
163 of Hudson’s 531 registered voters—30.70 percent—turned out to vote.
Ted Cruz – 32
John Kasich – 21
Marco Rubio – 5
Donald J. Trump – 56
Hilary Clinton – 19
Bernie Sanders – 29

Marion Township
538 of Marion’s 1,495 registered voters—or 35.99 percent—turned out.
Ted Cruz – 98
John Kasich – 102
Marco Rubio – 26
Donald J. Trump – 136
Hilary Clinton – 48
Bernie Sanders – 108

Melrose Township
384 of Melrose’s 1,176 registered voters—32.65 percent—turned out on Tuesday.
Ted Cruz – 74
John Kasich – 62
Marco Rubio – 27
Donald J. Trump – 73
Hilary Clinton – 55
Bernie Sanders – 86

Norwood Township
278 of Norwood’s 657 registered voters turned out to the polls for 42.31 percent voting.
Ted Cruz – 44
John Kasich – 37
Marco Rubio – 27
Donald J. Trump – 90
Hilary Clinton – 29
Bernie Sanders – 43

Peaine Township
109 of this township’s 328 registered voters—33.23 percent—cast ballots.
Ted Cruz – 14
John Kasich – 14
Marco Rubio – 2
Donald J. Trump – 36
Hilary Clinton – 13
Bernie Sanders – 23

St. James Township
112 of this township’s 296 voters, or 37.84 percent, cast ballots.
Ted Cruz – 13
John Kasich – 12
Marco Rubio – 4
Donald J. Trump – 23
Hilary Clinton – 14
Bernie Sanders – 43

South Arm Township
465 of South Arm’s 1,447 registered voters—32.14 percent—cast ballots.
Ted Cruz – 84
John Kasich – 70
Marco Rubio – 30
Donald J. Trump – 140
Hilary Clinton – 50
Bernie Sanders – 72

Wilson Township
500 of this township’s 1,480—that’s 33.78 percent—registered voters made their voices known.
Ted Cruz – 82
John Kasich – 56
Marco Rubio – 25
Donald J. Trump – 128
Hilary Clinton – 61
Bernie Sanders – 134

City of Boyne City
1,061 of Boyne City’s 2,979 registered voters—35.62 percent—turned out on election day.
Ted Cruz – 128
John Kasich – 163
Marco Rubio – 54
Donald J. Trump – 220
Hilary Clinton – 156
Bernie Sanders – 301

City of Charlevoix Ward 1
334 of Ward 1’s 815 registered voters—40.98 percent—cast ballots.
Ted Cruz – 34
John Kasich – 75
Marco Rubio – 23
Donald J. Trump – 67
Hilary Clinton – 47
Bernie Sanders – 73

City of Charlevoix Ward 2
258 of this ward’s 634 voters—or 40.69 percent—cast ballots.
Ted Cruz – 24
John Kasich – 40
Marco Rubio – 11
Donald J. Trump – 40
Hilary Clinton – 42
Bernie Sanders – 78

City of Charlevoix Ward 3
267 of this ward’s 782 registered voters—34.14 percent—turned out.
Ted Cruz – 54
John Kasich – 48
Marco Rubio – 17
Donald J. Trump – 42
Hilary Clinton – 37
Bernie Sanders – 56

City of East Jordan
512 of East Jordan’s 1,591 registered voters turned out. That’s 32.18 percent of the voters.
Ted Cruz – 65
John Kasich – 46
Marco Rubio – 21
Donald J. Trump – 136
Hilary Clinton – 77
Bernie Sanders – 138