Clerks provide details about upcoming election

By: Mark Vest | Farmington Press | Published October 2, 2023

 Voters mark their ballots in a past election.

Voters mark their ballots in a past election.

File photo by Patricia O’Blenes


FARMINGTON/FARMINGTON HILLS — This year’s local election process is already underway, as absentee ballots were set to be available Sept. 28.

Absentee voting has become the most popular way to cast a vote in local elections in recent years, and as convenient as that has been for some voters, things could get even easier.

“The thing that was new with the application this time around, whether they printed a state application or used our own application to apply for that, or even online, (is) that the voter now has the option to request to be put on a permanent ballot list, so … that would be the last application they would submit, and then going forward they would automatically receive a ballot for every election,” said Farmington Hills City Clerk Pam Smith. “It would automatically be sent to the registered address unless the voter tells us otherwise. This is the last time they would have to fill out that application, if they’ve done so.”

Farmington Hills has two contested races this year, with Kenneth D. Massey and Theresa Rich vying to be the next mayor, and Jon Aldred, Jackie Boleware, Bill Dwyer, Asim Y. Khan, Valentina Lucaj, Alex J. Meyers and Mary Newlin running for the three open spots on Farmington Hills’ City Council.

The official election date is Tuesday, Nov. 7.

There is no mayoral race in Farmington this year. Although Johnna Balk, Joe LaRussa and Kevin Parkins are each part of the City Council ballot, it is not a contested race, as there are three open spots and they are the only three candidates.

“Everybody’s (going to) be in, which is nice,” said Farmington City Clerk Meaghan Bachman. “Every candidate will advance to an elected position here.”

Although it is not a contested race, depending on the candidates’ aspirations, there could still be incentive, as the top two finishers are elected to a four-year term, and the third-place finisher to a two-year term.

Smith shared details about the absentee ballot deadline.

“We can mail a ballot up until the Friday before the election up until 5 o’clock; after that time, they can come in in person,” she said. “The Saturday before the election we’re open 8:30-4:30, and then on that Monday prior to the election, they still have until 4 p.m., or they can come in and obtain an absent-voter ballot. And if they come in on Monday, they are required to vote the ballot here in City Hall and just turn that right back in. They can’t leave with the ballot on Monday.”

Another option available to voters could shake things up this year and for years to come, regardless of whether it’s a local election, a gubernatorial or a presidential race.

Smith said that Oakland County is piloting early voting for local elections this year, which provides a variety of options for those who prefer to cast their vote in-person.

“Oakland County decided to pilot that this year and Farmington and Farmington Hills voters, we are kinda lumped together as one of the sites that the county identified,” she said. “Early voting is nine days prior to the election … so it’ll be Oct. 28 through Nov. 5. The hours will be 8:30-4:30 on all days, including the weekends, with the exception of that Thursday, which is Nov. 2. … They’re (going to) keep that open from 12 until 8 p.m.”

Smith said that the same Election Day rules apply when it comes to early voting.

“They would get the ballot right then and there, vote it, and they would be able to put that through a tabulator,” she said. “If they had an error on their ballot they would have the opportunity to spoil it, (and) on Election Day get a new ballot.”

Smith is a proponent of the early voting option.

“I think it’s another option for voters to get their votes in, to vote their ballot, put it through a tabulator, (and) have the option if they made an error to correct that error,” she said. “That’s one thing you really don’t have with absentee voting. … I think the other advantage is it runs through weekends too. … it gives people those extra days and weekends to get in there and have that opportunity. I fully support the early voting concept.”

Smith said that the county will be gathering data to try to determine things such as whether there will be a split between early voting and absentee voting and if it lightens things up on the regular election day.

Bachman is also on board with the concept.

“It’s a nice option to have,” she said. “Of course we have absentee voting for voters, but some electors like to actually put their ballot into the tabulator.”

Farmington and Farmington Hills voters can vote at the Costick Activities Center inside Shannon Hall, located at 28600 W. 11 Mile Road in Farmington Hills.

Oakland County voters also have the option of casting a ballot at the Waterford Activities Center, located at 2800 Watkins Lake Road in Waterford.

For more election information, visit,, or

The phone number for the Farmington City Clerk’s Office is (248) 474-5500.

The number for the Farmington Hills City Clerk’s Office is (248) 871-2410.

“If they’re unsure about anything, please give us a call,” Bachman said. “We’re here to help and direct them to the proper channels, on where to go to vote, how to get an absentee ballot, or information about early voting. … We’re here to help the voters, guide them along and make it a smooth, easy process for them.”