Kunselman and Anglin win Ann Arbor City Council Primary Elections

BY JASMINE ZHU AND LARA ZADE
Daily News Editors
Published August 4, 2009

Ann Arbor residents from Wards 3 and 5 trekked to the polls Tuesday to elect the Democratic candidates for their respective wards in the primary election. Former City Council member Stephen Kunselman will lead the Democratic Party in Ward 3 and incumbent Mike Anglin will lead the Democratic Party in Ward 5.

Out of the 16 precincts counted in Wards 3 and 5, which contain 30,361 registered voters, 3,424 ballots were cast, representing a voter turnout of 11.18 percent.

For Ward 3 residents, this year’s primary election race was a close one. Voters chose between three Democratic candidates — Kunselman, incumbent Leigh Greden and newcomer LuAnne Bullington.

Out of the 12,093 registered voters in Ward 3, 1,414 ballots were cast, representing a turnout of 11.69 percent. Kunselman received 36.53 percent of the vote — a slight victory over Greden, who received 36.10 percent. Kunselman garnered just six more votes than Greden. Bullington received a total of 379 votes.

Kunselman’s win ended Greden’s six-year streak as a City Council member for Ward 3.

Kunselman said that he attributes his win to his student supporters, who gave him the edge over his opponents.

“I don’t think the student vote went to either of my opponents,” Kunselman said. “I think that was what probably put me ahead.”

At the South Quad polling location — which includes Precincts 1 and 2 of Ward 3 — University alum Alex Miranda said he was voting in the primary election because “it seems to be the election that matters.”

Andrew Moran, a University of Michigan Dearborn Senior, shared a similar opinion with Miranda, and added that because there is often little support for a Republican candidate in the general election in November, the Democratic primary is the most important election.

“The primary process is kind of interesting — there isn’t a Republican candidate,” Moran said. “It’s basically the vote that matters.”

Miranda also said that he voted because of a fellow student’s efforts to recruit student voters.

LSA junior Yousef Rabhi has been campaigning for Stephen Kunselman for the past three or four weeks. He has visited a number of University student co-ops to encourage more students to participate in the election process.

Rabhi’s commitment to voting in the primary can be summed up in one line.

“There’s not true representation on City Council unless everybody votes,” he said.

Rabhi’s efforts have brought what he estimates to have been 15 or 20 students to the voting polls — a figure that surpasses incumbent Greden’s expectation of fewer than a dozen students turning up.

Rabhi said that he wanted to “show (Greden) that more students vote than expected.”

South Quad poll worker Valerie Yodhes said that by 6 p.m., a total of 57 votes had been cast, including 19 absentee ballots. By 8 p.m. when the polls closed, the total count was 68 ballots, representing a turnout of 4.45 percent.

The race in Ward 5 between Anglin and former primary candidate Scott Rosencrans was much less contested. Out of 18,538 registered voters, 2,010 ballots were cast, representing a turnout of 10.84 percent. Anglin received 1,301 votes, representing 65.18 percent of Ward 5 votes. Rosencrans received 694 votes.

According to Ron Amos, a poll worker at the Ann Arbor District Library — Precinct 1 of Ward 5 — the voter turnout for primary elections in Ann Arbor is typically smaller than that of larger elections, such as the general elections in November, because it is solely a local election.

Amos said that by 6:40 p.m., 23 ballots were cast. By 8 p.m., 34 ballots were cast out of 971 registered voters, representing a turnout of 3.5 percent.

Amos added that the number of voters he saw today was normal for a local election at his precinct.

Ann Arbor resident Jean Hunt said she came to the polls to support Anglin because he supports the same issues she does, like the preservation of residential downtown areas.

Hunt said the fact that she didn’t have to wait in any lines at the polls bothered her because she thinks more residents should be voting.

She added that voting in the primary election is important because the results usually reflect those of the general election in November.

“Just like (Anglin) says on his postcard, whoever wins the primary will probably win in November because this is such a democratic town,” Hunt said.