The county will be prepared, Dick Siebert, the Republican election commissioner, for a historic turnout on presidential election day, Nov. 8, Siebert told members of the County Ways and Means Committee at Wednesday meeting.
Where an off-year, local election might garner a 20- to 24-percent turnout, Siebert is ordering enough computer-readable ballots to handle an 80-percent turnout.
"One thing we don’t want to do is run out of ballots on a presidential election," Siebert said.
In his role as an election commissioner and as chair of the county's GOP committee, Siebert said he is seeing a lot of interest in this election.
"We’ve had a lot of activity," Siebert said. "We had a strong turnout in the primary. We had a 40-percent turnout on the Republic line in the primary. There’s been a lot of interest, both for Trump and for Hillary in our county. We normally experience anywhere around 70 to 72 percent in a presidential year. I think this year we will exceed that."
The fact that both the Republican and Democratic primaries were strongly contested until late in the season, helped drive interest in this year's presidential election, Siebert said.
Plus both top-party candidates are polarizing.
"This campaign has been going on forever," Siebert said. "Everybody has been following it. It seems like it’s never ending. Trump has his supporters. He has his people who love him. He has his people who hate him. Same thing with Hillary. There are people who love her and there are people who hate her. There’s just a lot of extra interest this time."
As GOP chair, he said he's getting a lot of requests for Trump lawn signs. He just got a batch of 300 in and half of them are already gone.
He said the Democrats will soon get Clinton signs in and Siebert expects strong demand for those signs as well.
"This will be our busiest election in my 13 years as a commissioner," Siebert said. "We had strong turnouts before, but there just seems to be so much more vocal interest locally, at least in Genesee County."
Even so, the election staff is ready, he said, though it will be a long day.
"We’re well staffed," Siebert said. "We’ve got great crews out there. We add on people where we can, but we suspect that our workers will be busy right from six o’clock straight through until nine o’clock at night. Unfortunately, some of them won’t even get a break."
The biggest problem he expects on election day is people turning out who never registered to vote.
"We’ll get complaints that 'I can’t exercise my Constitutional rights because I can’t vote,' " Siebert said. "Well, they can’t vote because they didn’t register, even though they think they did, but they didn’t it. It makes it a very touchy year."
The deadline to register for the general election is Oct. 14.