Primary election coming to St. Clair Shores Aug. 3

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published July 28, 2021

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — While some states place more restrictions on voters, there are no changes to the current laws in Michigan that would affect how residents vote in the Aug. 3 primary election, according to St. Clair Shores City Clerk Mary Kotowski.

“Michigan has been a picture ID state since 2007,” she said. “If you don’t have picture (identification) and you’re registered to vote, you can still vote by completing an affidavit.”

Very few people do so, she said. In the last election, there were fewer than a dozen people who utilized an affidavit to cast their vote.

“Because we’re in the tri-county area and you need ID for most things, most people have picture ID,” she said.

As of mid-July, Kotowski said her office had mailed out about 9,800 absentee voter ballots. This year, ballots are being returned more slowly, which is more normal than in 2020. About 37% had been returned, as of July 19.

“People aren’t quite as hesitant in the mail as last year,” she said. “More of our ballots are dropped off at the ballot boxes than are postmarked.”

She said her office has issued more absentee ballots than in past city council primary elections, but she is not sure how many will actually vote absentee.

“I think a lot of people got the application, turned it in, got their ballot. Are they going to vote in this election? I don’t know,” she said.

Thirteen candidates are running for three seats on St. Clair Shores City Council; the pool will be whittled down to six after the primary election. Two Democrats and seven Republicans are running for a partial term in the state Senate caused when then-Sen. Peter Lucido won election as Macomb County Prosecuting Attorney.

A typical election when only city council offices are on the ballot would see about 6,700 absentee voters and about another 1,700 at the polls, she said. So far, about 2,500 absentee ballots have been returned, “which is really typical.” She said the state Senate primary may bring more voters, too.

From July 20 until the polls close on Election Day, anyone not registered to vote will need to do so at the Clerk’s Office at City Hall. They must bring proof of residency and picture identification to do so.

All 23 voting locations in the city will be open on Election Day because of the state Senate primary race, but Kotowski said she expects lighter turnout compared with 2020.

“I don’t expect anything like last year,” she said.

Absentee ballots are available in the Clerk’s Office until 4 p.m. Aug. 2. The Clerk’s Office will be open additional hours 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 31, for anyone who needs to get registered or get a ballot. Friday, July 30, is the last day Kotowski said she can mail out an absentee ballot, but “that late in the game, it’s almost better to come into the office.”

To check the status of voter registration, the status of an absentee ballot or to apply to vote absentee, voters can go to michigan.gov/vote.

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