FLINT, Michigan -- Caitlin Mazurek started her day as a first-time volunteer election inspector at 5:30 a.m. on November 3 at precinct 46 at Pierce Elementary. And she had company.
“I was surprised that we were so busy first thing in the morning!” she said. “By 7 a.m. we were slammed.”
Still, despite the long and busy day, shortly before the polls were closing, she remained in high spirits.
“People seemed genuinely so eager to vote and most of the people we have been talking with and helping, have been so nice and so happy to participate. It’s been fun,” she said.
Election officials have said that voter turnout in Flint will likely surpass what it was in the 2016 Presidential Election, with record-setting early voting and absentee voting in the city. This year’s election in Flint also brought many first-time voters of all ages to the polls.
“I have seen a lot more younger people,” said Mariam Tabbah, 19, who volunteered as an election worker for the second time this year. “Compared to the last election, I worked during the 2020 primaries, we are having way more young people.”
The Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University released an updated early vote analysis on October 30 that noted that more than 7 million young people (ages 18-29) voted early or by absentee ballots in the 2020 election.
Benjamin Mcintyre, 25, has been volunteering as technical support for the City Clerk’s office, and commented on the increased number of voters.
“The biggest change I have noticed this year is the sheer numbers coming out today,” he said. “We are experiencing higher numbers today than in 2018 and we set records that year for the city of Flint. We are hoping to get even higher numbers this year.”
At Cathedral of Faith Church, where precinct two and three are located, volunteers applauded and encouraged voters for simply casting their ballots.
“People came who looked down or upset, it definitely seemed like it cheered people up,” said second time volunteer Shaketta Brooks, 34, a Flint resident and election chairperson. “It made them [voters] more amped about getting their votes in and excited about other people getting their vote in.”
At several precincts in Flint, volunteers were excited to see the older generation come out to vote. “We are definitely getting a lot of everybody. People who are 80 or 90 years old, who are voting for the first time,” Mcyntire said.
While it will take time for all of the winners to be declared, Brooks is hoping for one simple change regardless of who the winners are, saying she is hopeful for change, “... in the way we treat each other. I think that people's lives are valuable as individuals. Altogether people should consider other people and become compassionate of others and try and understand other people’s situations more."