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 West Bloomfield Township Clerk Debbie Binder reviews election materials Feb. 25. She and her office are preparing for multiple elections this year in which they’re anticipating high turnout.

West Bloomfield Township Clerk Debbie Binder reviews election materials Feb. 25. She and her office are preparing for multiple elections this year in which they’re anticipating high turnout.

Photo by Donna Agusti


Clerk reminds West Bloomfield residents about voting process

By: Andy Kozlowski | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published February 28, 2020

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WEST BLOOMFIELD — 2020 will be a busy year for voters.

Debbie Binder, the township clerk for West Bloomfield, said she is expecting high turnout at each of the three major elections scheduled this year. That includes Michigan’s presidential primary March 10, followed by the state’s primary election Aug. 4 and the general election Nov. 3.

Voters who reside in the Bloomfield Hills and Waterford school districts will also vote in a special election May 5.

“We strive to make voting as easy and accessible to all of our West Bloomfield voters while following all state and federal election laws, as well as ensuring the integrity and security of our elections,” Binder said in an email. “We will provide extended hours during busy election times and also offer curbside service to voters in need of it. We want to make sure everyone has an opportunity to be heard.”

Binder noted that during the presidential primary March 10, all Michigan voters can select a candidate for president to represent the party in the November general election, but voters are not committed to vote for the choice they make in March.

Also, by law, voters must request the specific party ballot they wish to vote for in the presidential primary. They may also choose the alternate ballot with local proposals only.

Alongside the presidential primary, West Bloomfield voters will also consider a proposal for a millage renewal for the Detroit Institute of Arts. Voters in the Birmingham, Farmington and Pontiac school districts will consider an additional school district proposal.

Thanks to voter approval of Proposal 3 in 2018, any voter may now choose to vote by absentee ballot, Binder said. Absentee ballots are currently available at the West Bloomfield Township Clerk’s Office, available until 4 p.m. on Monday, March 9, the eve of the presidential primary.

Those who register on election day have the right to vote in their precinct or by absentee ballot. Binder explained that same-day registrants will be the only voters allowed to vote by absentee ballot on election day.

“By law, we stop mailing absentee ballots at 4 p.m. on Friday. We are open Saturday before every election from 8 (a.m.) to 4 (p.m.). Voters may come to Town Hall on Saturday to get their absentee ballot and take it home with them,” Binder said. “They may also obtain an absentee ballot on Monday, March 9, but would have to vote their absentee ballot at Town Hall.”

If a voter submits an absentee ballot and changes their mind for any reason — or if their candidate suspends their campaign — the voter can request that their absentee ballot be “spoiled,” and they will be issued a new ballot.

The Clerk’s Office must receive the request in writing with a signature included, and absentee ballots can only be spoiled and new ones issued in person at the Clerk’s Office 2-4 p.m. Saturday or 8 a.m.-4 p.m. the Monday before election day.

Absentee ballots are an option for college students and other voters who are out of the area, as well. They can sign and complete an application for an absentee ballot, including their alternate or temporary address, and the ballot will be mailed directly to that address.

People can file an application digitally, but time must be allowed for the absentee ballot to be physically mailed to the temporary address and then returned to the Clerk’s Office. There are also special procedures and protections for voters who are in the military or overseas — they should contact the Clerk’s Office at (248) 451-4848 or by emailing askclerks@wbtownship.org for more details.

The absentee ballots will be counted on election day by the Absent Voter Counting Board, an independent group dedicated solely to this purpose.

Paula Cummings, an election specialist with the Clerk’s Office, spoke of the pride with which they take their responsibility.

“I began my career 32 years ago working in the Clerk’s Office, where I grew to appreciate the importance of administering secure and accurate elections. I enjoy the challenge of the job and also value the importance of adhering to federal and state election law to guarantee the integrity of all elections,” Cummings said in an email. “It is extremely satisfying knowing that I have contributed to promoting the democratic process and ensuring the public is confident in an accurate outcome.”

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