Flint, MI–Five hours into election day, Flint residents have been turning out in as low as single-digit numbers to the nearly two dozen polling stations scattered across the city.

By 11 a.m. some precincts, like the one in Flint City Hall, had received only eight votes, although absentee ballots show a higher turnout overall. According to a statement from the Secretary of State’s Office, as of Monday, Nov. 1, Flint received 2756, mail-in ballots of the 3657 requested by residents. 

In the 2017 city council election, 14,550 Flint residents voted. With 2,756 absentee ballots already accounted for so far today, that means 11,794 more residents must vote by the end of the day to tie the 2017 voter turnout.

The polling location at Brownell K-2 STEM Academy saw a turnout of 27 voters by noon. The location inside the Mott Community College Event Center saw a turnout of 132 voters by 1 p.m.

Voters who spoke to Flint Beat said their biggest wish for the ‘21- ‘25 Flint City Council would be to see an increase in efficiency and cooperation among council members.

Audrey Gaia-Paix, 56, became the 8th voter of the day when she arrived at the Flint City Hall polling station around noon on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. (Santiago Ochoa | Flint Beat)

Phyllis Miller, a first ward resident, said she has been an active voter her entire life thanks to the values instilled upon her by her mother. 

“My mom used to work the polls, her and I would go together when I turned 18 and then when my niece turned 18, she told me she wanted to go and vote too, so I’ve always voted,” Miller said.

Miller said she wished more people would have ran for the council member position. Though she said she had no complaints about her current ward representative, Eric Mays, Miller said she didn’t doesn’t see much changing if “new people don’t take over from time to time.”

Miller added that for her, seeing a united city council is most important. 

“I want them to quit arguing among themselves and just represent the people,” Miller said.

Jeni and Nick Godleski visited the Mott Event Center station where they voted for their preferred Seventh Ward candidate. There, incumbent Monica Galloway is vying for re-election while competing against Allie Herkenroeder and write-in candidate Lakeisha Tureaud.

“I was happy with our choices. I think we had good candidates this year,” said Jeni.

The two voters said regardless of who came to represent their ward, what they wished for the most was “civility” inside the city council chambers. 

“I mean, we all want civility, that’s the obvious one, right?” said Nick. “We want more transparency and more efficiency. We want collaboration, real collaboration and better communication with the residents of their ward. That type of communication seemed to be lacking until about a week ago when all of sudden our council person was very active and concerned,” said Jeni.

All polling locations across the city will be open until 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 3. A list of polling locations can be found here.

Santiago Ochoa is Flint Beat's Latinx Community reporter. He is always looking to write about anything Flint or Latinx. He especially enjoys investigative reporting and human-interest stories. A communications...