GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — With the general election less than two weeks away, campaigns continue to target the elusive undecided voter, but a Grand Valley State University political science professor said there are few left.
“In today’s polarized environment, most people really aren’t undecided at this point in the election,” Professor Whit Kilburn said. “…For the voters who are going to show up to vote on Election Day, Nov. 8, or vote absentee ballot, most of those voters have already decided.”
As of earlier this week, about 772,000 absentee votes had been returned out of about 1.8 million requested statewide. This is the first governor’s race since Michigan voters approved no-reason absentee voting. That, coupled with several hotly contested races and issues, may lead to record turnout for a midterm — perhaps 2.25 million votes total, state elections officials have suggested.
“There are big national interest groups who are spending money on behalf of those causes here in the state,” Kilburn said. “They’re the ones who are running the ads, sending out the postcards and the flyers to people’s homes and really spending a lot of money to try to turn out the vote for their side.”
As more political advertisements roll out across airways and through the mail this week, Kilburn said that many people tend to tune out the noise this late in the political cycle.
He told News 8 that the first round of advertisements and commercials tends to leave a lasting impact on voters.
“Some negative ads voters actually find helpful,” he said. “If they are negative ads that sort of contrast one candidate’s views with another, and even if it’s in a way that’s intended to
be unflattering, if voters think it provides some sort of meaningful information, some important bit or fact about a candidate, then those issues can have an impact.”
It’s too late to ask for an absentee ballot or register to vote online or by mail, but you can still do it in person at your clerk’s office up until 8 p.m. on Election Day.