22,230 residents eligible to vote in recall election

ESCANABA — A special election that could change the makeup of the Delta County Board of commissioners by recalling three of its members is just days away and is shaping up to be a major event for Delta County residents.

Based on population estimates, about 22,230 residents in the county will be able to vote in the election, which only affects residents living in districts 3, 4, and 5. Those residents are currently represented by Republican commissioners Bob Barron, Dave Moyle, and Bob Petersen, respectively. Challenging Barron is Myra Croasdell (I), challenging Moyle is Kelli Van Ginhoven (D), and challenging Petersen is Matt Jensen (I).

The recall election was spurred by the Delta County Citizens for Ethical Leadership, a coalition of residents with grievances against the commission or concerns about the county’s governance. The stated reason for the recall on the petitions circulated to put the issue of the commissioner’s seats on the ballot was the Feb. 7, 2023 firing of former County Administrator Emily DeSalvo.

However, individual members of the group have pointed to other issues, such as the commissioner’s open opposition to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI); the hiring of County Attorney Scott Graham; and the board’s relationships with the Delta Conservation District and Former Conservation District CEO Rory Mattson.

The commissioners themselves have suggested the recall is politically motivated, pointing to Van Ginhoven, who previously ran for the county board against Moyle as an independent in 2020 but failed to secure the seat. All three commissioners at various points have stated the recall is the result of bitterness by Van Ginhoven’s supporters over the loss.

The commissioners have also suggested the recall is from individuals who oppose their conservative positions. Those residents have been described by the commissioners in county meetings and individual interviews as “liberal,” “woke,” or “Marxist.”

Because the election is a local election, there is no early in-person voting like is required for state and federal elections in Michigan. Those residents who have not voted by absentee ballot must physically appear at their voting precinct on May 7 between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.

District 3: Barron (R) vs. Croasdell (I)

Bark River Township — All Bark River township residents will vote at the Bark River Senior Center, 4283 D Road.

City of Escanaba — Only residents living in Escanaba’s Precinct 2 will vote in this race. The precinct includes all areas south of 8th Avenue South to the city limit. Residents will vote at the Escanaba Early Childhood Center, 1905 South 21st St.

Escanaba Township — Only residents living in Escanaba Township Precinct 2 (formerly precincts 2 and 3) will vote in this election. Precinct 2 encompasses all areas of the township west of the Escanaba River. Residents will vote at the Escanaba Township Hall, 4618 Co. 416 20th Road.

Escanaba Township residents living on the east side of the river live in District 2, which is represented by Commissioner Steve Viau. Viau is not the subject of a recall.

Ford River Township — All Ford River township residents will vote at the Ford River Township Hall, 3845 K Road.

District 4: Moyle (R) vs. Van Ginhoven (D)

City of Escanaba — Residents living in precincts 1 and 3 will vote in the district four race. Precinct 1 includes all areas between 3rd Avenue North and 8th Avenue South, from the lake to 14th Street. Precinct 3 includes all areas between 3rd Avenue North and 8th Avenue South, west of 14th Street to the city limit.

Precinct 1 residents will vote at City Hall, located at 410 Ludington Street. Precinct 3 residents will vote at the Catherine Bonifas Civic Center, 225 N. 21st St.

District 5: Petersen (R) vs. Jensen (I)

City of Escanaba — The District 5 race includes Escanaba Precinct 4, which includes all areas of the city north of 3rd Avenue North. Precinct 4 voters vote at Christ The King Lutheran Church, 1230 N. 18th St.

Wells Township — Wells Township voters are also in District 5. All Wells Township voters vote at the Wells Township Hall.


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