Clerk still accepting absentee ballot applications

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published July 29, 2019

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — Too busy to head to the polls for the primary? This year, that’s no problem.

Residents don’t need a reason to ask for an absentee ballot with the new rules approved by Michigan voters last fall. They just need to come to the City Clerk’s Office at 27600 Jefferson Ave. to fill out an application. Applications must be received by Friday, Aug. 2, in order for the Clerk’s Office to mail out a ballot. 

“Saturday, Aug. 3, the office will be open 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., so anyone who needs a ballot could walk in with picture ID or fill out an affidavit and we’ll give them a ballot on the spot,” Clerk Mary Kotowski said. “Monday, (Aug. 5), they can vote at my counter until 4.”

She said that, as of July 23, the number of absentee ballots requested and returned is “pretty consistent” with past elections in the city. She expects, however, that number to grow as more residents realize they can skip the lines at the polls ahead of the presidential election in 2020.

Voters can request to be mailed an absentee ballot for every election by filling out a form at scsmi.net/295/Elections. 

“Not that city elections aren’t important, but historically, we always have a lower turnout in a city election than we do in a presidential or governor (election),” she said. “You’re going to see my amount of (absentee voters) go up. As we do that, we’ll be hiring more people to work at the Absentee Voter Board.”

There are about 10,000 residents on the permanent absentee voter mailing list right now, and as the popularity of absentee voting grows, Kotowski said she will need to hire more workers because counting those ballots is labor intensive. Absentee Voter Board workers have to open each envelope, make sure the stub matches the number sent to that resident, remove it from the secrecy folder and run it through a high-speed tabulator.

Kotowski said that she’s happy to have as many people as possible take advantage of absentee voting.

“For busy people who, maybe getting to the poll on Election Day is an issue, we have a great alternative now for everybody,” she said.

Residents can track the status of their absentee ballot when they return it to the city by going to michigan.gov/vote.

If a resident moved to St. Clair Shores at least 30 days ago, but did not register to vote in the community yet, they can come to the City Clerk’s Office with a picture ID and proof of residency to register. If they haven’t changed their driver’s license yet, they can bring a current pay stub, bank statement, utility bill or other proof of residency.

Voters can go to michigan.gov/vote to confirm that they are registered to vote.

St. Clair Shores will save money by combining several precincts during the Aug. 6 primary, as well.

“It’s a cost savings to the city, and I can only do it in odd-year elections because it’s a lower turnout election,” Kotowski said. 

Precincts that share a facility and a room during other elections will be combined into one precinct with both numbers for the primary election, saving about $2,500 per precinct. The merged precincts are:

• 2 and 20

• 7 and 10

• 9 and 12

• 11 and 16

• 13 and 17

• 14 and 15 

• 18 and 21

Election day results will be posted at the Macomb County Clerk/Register of Deed’s page, clerk.macombgov.org/Clerk-Elections.

Kotowski said that she will post results to the city page at the end of the night, but the results are automatically transferred to the county through a secured site on election night and shuold update there faster than on the city’s page.

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