Farmington Hills City Clerk highlights multiple voting options for residents

By: Mark Vest | Farmington Press | Published February 19, 2024

 City Clerk Carly Lindahl has mapped out voters’ choices for casting their ballots this year.

City Clerk Carly Lindahl has mapped out voters’ choices for casting their ballots this year.

Photo provided by the city of Farmington Hills


FARMINGTON HILLS — In her more than 20-year career with the city of Farmington Hills, Carly Lindahl has filled a variety of roles.

She began her career with the city as a department aide in the engineering division.

In 2012, she transitioned to the City Clerk’s Office, working as a secretary before landing the role of deputy city clerk.

This past January, Lindahl’s role changed again, as she was sworn in as Farmington Hills’ city clerk.

One of the first major orders of business for Lindahl has been preparing for the Feb. 27 presidential primary election.

The City Clerk’s Office has extended its scheduled hours of operation for the election for election-related business, and it is scheduled to be open 8:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Feb. 22 and 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 24.

On Election Day, the City Clerk’s Office, located at 31555 W. 11 Mile Road, is set to be open 7 a.m.-8 p.m.

Normal business hours are 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. weekdays.

Early voting in Michigan now allows voters the option of voting nine days early.

Early voting, combined with the option of absentee voting, now gives residents multiple opportunities to cast their vote.

“The most important thing for this one is the options … for voters,” Lindahl said. “You can come get an absentee ballot at any time. … And voters can now use their absentee ballot if they want to take it and run it through a tabulator; they’re welcome to take their ballot to the early voting site or to their precinct on Election Day and run it through.”

Farmington and Farmington Hills have a joint agreement with Oakland County for an early voting location site, which is the Costick Activities Center, located at 28600 W. 11 Mile Road in Farmington Hills.

“It starts nine days before, so the two Saturdays prior to the election, and it runs through the Sunday before the election,” Lindahl said. “The hours are 8:30-4:30, except for Thursday, when we’re noon-8 p.m.”

Lindahl said that absentee ballots can be picked up in person until 4 p.m. on the Monday prior to the election.

“If they come in on that Monday, they have to vote the ballot here in person,” she said. “If they want a ballot mailed to them, it’s Friday at 5 p.m. before the election to come get an application.”

Lindahl acknowledged that the early voting option has made things more challenging for clerks.

However, from her perspective, the benefit outweighs the added challenges.

“The hours, the manpower, the responsibilities, it’s a lot,” Lindahl said. “It’s challenging for every clerk in the state of Michigan. … In my opinion, in the core group of clerks that I have, you ask any one of us and … that’s what we want. We want voters … to have the opportunity to vote.”

Since no-reason absentee voting went into effect in Michigan in 2018, that method of voting has become the most popular one for residents. However, with early voting now an option, clerks will likely be paying close attention to see if it surpasses absentee numbers.

Lindahl thinks that because this is a presidential primary election year, it will be a good gauge as to what voters prefer.

“Ever since we did the no-reason absentees, our precincts’ absentee numbers have pretty much flip-flopped. We have more people voting absentee than in the precincts,” Lindahl said. “(With) early voting, I think after this year we’ll have some numbers to look at to see what it’s going to look like going forward.”

Lindahl said that there was a 44% turnout for the 2020 presidential election.

“In years past, we’ve kinda hovered around that number, but with the options now, I’m hoping that number goes up,” she said.

As city clerk, Lindahl is responsible for the administration of all elections and serves as secretary to the City Council.

She also serves as the Farmington Hills’ Freedom of Information Act coordinator and helps provide support services to the Planning Commission, the Zoning Board of Appeals and the Dangerous Animal Review Board.

Lindahl also manages the agendas and minutes for all other city boards and commissions.

In 2022, Lindahl received a “level two” Michigan Professional Municipal Clerk Certification through the Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks, which “recognizes clerks for their extensive knowledge of and commitment to the multifaceted clerk’s position,” according to a press release from the city of Farmington Hills.

She was also designated as a certified municipal clerk through the International Institute of Municipal Clerks, which is a certification that “demonstrates the mastery of the skills critical to good government,” the release states.

Lindahl is an accredited election official through the Michigan Bureau of Elections.

She has a bachelor of science degree in community development, with a concentration in public administration, from Central Michigan University.

As part of her duties, Lindahl leads a staff of five people who are tasked with maintaining all city codes, ordinances, resolutions and other legal documents.

Beginning her latest role in a presidential election year has been “exciting” for Lindahl.

Perhaps her biggest task this year is helping to guide residents through the current voting process.

“There’s so many ways they can cast their vote, and I’m here to answer any questions that they have,” Lindahl said. “They seem to be receptive to the information that we’re trying to get out there.”

She was unanimously approved by the Farmington Hills’ City Council to serve in that position.

Pam Smith had held the position since 2011. Smith retired in January after working for the city for more than 34 years.

Due to her previous work for the city, Lindahl said that it has been an easy transition.

She credited Smith for helping make it that way.

“She was a great mentor, and she had me as prepared as she could coming into a very busy presidential election year,” Lindahl said. “It’s a lot, but it’s good. … Pam had a succession plan for quite some time, and it was just a matter of making sure that I was what council wanted.”

Farmington Hills City Manager Gary Mekjian shared some thoughts about Lindahl.

“For more than 20 years, Carly has been an integral part of the City of Farmington Hills Team,” Mekjian stated in a press release. “She has continually demonstrated her commitment to the residents of this community and is a strong addition to the City’s administration.”