St. Clair ShoresJuly 24, 2013
Primary election, millage vote on tap for Aug. 6
By Kristyne E. Demske
ST CLAIR SHORES — Summer heat can drive away thoughts of anything else, but St. Clair Shores residents should make a point to remember city government this August.
The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Aug. 6 for voters to cast their votes for City Council candidates and make their opinions known on a millage proposal.
City Clerk Mary Kotowski said she’s taking advantage of a state law to save St. Clair Shores money in this primary election. In a low-turnout or special election, the city is allowed to merge precincts, saving about $1,500 per precinct.
In the case of St. Clair Shores, she has merged any precinct that typically votes in the same location as another precinct for this election. Precincts merged include 7 and 10 at Civic Arena; 9 and 12 at Blossom Heath Inn; 11 and 16 at the Activity Center at St. Germaine School; 18 and 21 at Lake Shore High School; and 20 and 24 at St. Margaret of Scotland.
“Voters still go to the same place,” Kotowski said. “It’ll only be set up as one.”
The savings come from consolidated costs of ballot printing, coding, deliveries and poll workers.
“That’s a great thing,” she said.
On the ballot will be eight candidates for City Council; six will move forward to the November election. Also on the ballot is City Proposal 1, asking voters to authorize a 2 mill levy to be used for the Police and Fire departments.
Kotowski said voters can find plenty of information about the Aug. 6 election on the city’s website, www.scsmi.net. Once there, they can click on “City Clerk” on the bottom left portion of the page, then “Election Information” to see if they are registered to vote, what the ballot looks like, find an application for an absentee ballot and — for absentee voters — if their ballot has been received. A precinct map is also online.
The City Clerk’s office will even be open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 3 for voters who wish to apply for an absentee ballot but have missed the deadline to request by mail, which is at 2 p.m. that day, also. Voters can also make a late request Aug. 5 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., but the ballot must be filled out in City Hall at that time and cannot leave the premises.
“There is a new law that took effect this year,” Kotowski explained, that “if a voter walks in to City Hall to register to vote or get a ballot, they must show photo I.D. It wasn’t the law for absentee voters until this year.”
Kotowski said there is typically a 16 percent turnout for a city primary election when the mayor’s position is not on the ballot.
“The police and fire millage, I would think, would bring that higher,” she said. “But we never know.”
She said although city is the lowest form of government and usually has the smallest turnout in an election, it has the biggest impact on residents’ lives.
Mayor Kip Walby agreed.
“This is their chance to decide who they want to make decisions for them,” he said. “We make a lot of decisions over the course of four years and you should be out there casting your vote for people who you believe are going to believe in your philosophy.
“When you think about it, there’s a lot of votes over four years.”
No matter how many voters show up at the polls next month, Kotowski said it costs the city the same amount: around $50,000 each time. With the precinct consolidation, she said this year’s tab should be closer to $42,000, but she said she budgets for a primary and general election each year, just in case.