Voter turnout in West Bloomfield was 19.46 percent, not counting Orchard Lake, Sylvan Lake and Keego Harbor.
8:47 p.m.: No official results are in yet, but all the polling sites closed at 8 p.m. Election inspectors continued to file in to Town Hall with their equipment to get their precinct's results tabulated. Meanwhile, several township department heads, including the police chief and a couple of township board trustees, are here in Town Hall, waiting on the results just like everyone else.
7:30 p.m.: With a half hour left until the polls close, we still had time to pop over to Gretchko Elementary School as the last of the voters turned out to cast their ballots. The sole campaigner we saw was Katie Reed, who is the daughter of John Reed and voting for the first time at age 20. Katie, a student at Eastern Michigan University with plans to go into the teaching field and a 2009 West Bloomfield High School graduate, said she'd "like to see the schools stay as great as they are."
5:34 p.m.: The parking lot at Orchard Lake Middle School is packed once again, this time because of parent-teacher conferences at the school.
Sheiko Elementary School parent Laura Mesner was one such campaigner, throwing her support behind Beaty through use of Facebook and in face-to-face discussions in front of the school. Mesner said she's campaigning for Beaty on account of her "experience in dealing with school board and community issues," and she said Beaty "really understands the relationship between the health of the school district and property values.
"That's probably the biggest issue for me, next to my kids, of course," Mesner said.
School board President David Einstandig was outside OLMS, offering support for the incumbent Hersh. Einstandig said his support of Hersh solidified during the two debates at West Bloomfield High School in October but added that he's "happy to work with whoever is elected."
Einstandig also commented that "voter turnout feels low but may be typical." Throughout Oakland County, communities are reporting low voter turnout due to myriad factors, mostly owing to a lack of a national ballot initiative.
1:33 p.m.: Popped back to Orchard Lake Middle School to speak with CharRhonda Moye and some of her supporters, as well as Debbie Lotan and Brenda Mann, who support Carol Finkelstein and John Reed.
Mann, a Title I tutor at Abbott Middle School and a West Bloomfield High School graduate, said that she preferred to have board members who currently have children in the district. She has known Reed "for a long time," she said, and instructed his son, Christopher.
"We're personal friends," Mann said of Reed. "When you know someone that long, you have a good sense of their moral character. You get to know their kids and what it really is that drives them ... some people don't understand what teachers need to thrive, but (Reed) is a teacher."
12:29 p.m.: Traveling around the northwest porton of the township now. I stopped at Gretchko Elementary School, to chat with supporters of Nick Hersh who were campaigning outside. They told me they had been there since 7 a.m. and about 150 voters had gone into the school that day.
"Why are we here? Well, we're longtime friends, and (Hersh) knows what he's doing. He has a lot of experience, and it's nice to see people support that," said Amanda Townsend, of Waterford.
11 a.m.: At Town Hall, Clerk Catherine Shaughnessy's office is as busy as would be expected on Election Day. No problems were reported as voters continue to turn in absentee ballots, Shaughnessy said.
10:55 a.m.: I met West Bloomfield Township Police Chief Michael Patton at headquarters, where we briefly discussed the public safety millage issue on today's ballot.
"I hope we've made a compelling case," said Patton, dressed in full uniform.
Going back to an earlier update, I asked Patton if he might feel as though absentee ballots could drive the election, given his involvement in the public safety millage election campaign. He told me he wasn't sure.
"The trend of voting absentee is one which I see in many different communities besides ours," he said. "That has nothing to do with our clerk's office — in fact, even in a presidential election year, I've personally had very little waiting time — but just the trends for whatever reason. The argument of whether that represents a driving force in our community remains to be seen."
9:44 a.m.: No campaigners were standing outside Temple Israel as they did at the library and the elementary school earlier today, but the voters are turning out. Election inspector Bill Carroll said 43 people had showed up so far, and speculated the school board election was what drove them to the poll.
8:50 a.m.: West Bloomfield School Board Trustee Randi Sakwa was found early this morning at the Main Library, Precinct 15, in a pink hooded sweatshirt, sitting on a lawn chair, holding signs in support of Julie Beaty and Nelson "Nick" Hersh alongside retired Green Elementary School (now Sheiko Elementary) principal Kathy Sheiko, who was under an umbrella. Sakwa noted that while she had participated in campaigns in the past, that perhaps no two were tied so closely as schools and public safety.
"I think that the community's success is built on the strength of schools and safety ... some things you can't put a dollar amount on," Sakwa said, specifically with regard to today's public safety millage vote. "The township has been very generous in supporting the schools through its police department. The school liason officer knows the goings-on of the kids and the groups in the school ... people might take that for granted."
"Regardless of who wins, I think it's important to note that I'll be excited to work with the board after this election."
Meanwhile, Karen Faett stood alongside Sakwa, taking a moment to reflect on the campaign to date, while staying light-hearted in the face of gray skies.
"If I'm asking people to volunteer for me and wear their rain gear, then I've got to do the same," said Faett, wearing an autumn coat and hat. "I've seen about 15 people come through here today to vote ... it's been interesting in dealing with absentee voters as well as what we're doing today. It really is like two elections, and you need to be cognizant of absentee voters and their hopes."
8:20 a.m.: The township clerk's office reports no problems at voting sites so far this busy Election Day.
8:07 a.m.: Polls in West Bloomfield opened at 7 a.m. Tuesday with less-than-choice weather, but plenty of options to choose from on the ballot.
By 8 a.m., poll workers at Orchard Lake Middle School reported a little more than 10 voters come through at one of West Bloomfield's busiest and most centrally located precincts. Meanwhile, campaigners for West Bloomfield School Board candidates braved the drizzle and 54-degree conditions to get the word out.
"Why am I out here this early? I guess, to rise early and keep going, to get a good start on the day," said Shanita Bradley of West Bloomfield, campaigning for CharRhonda Moye while clutching a paper coffee cup through mittened hands. "I've got a lot going on today, so I'll leave here, go to the precinct I vote in and then go to work."