Grosse Pointe Woods prepares for Aug. 4 primary election

By: Maria Allard | Grosse Pointe Times | Published July 21, 2020

GROSSE POINTE WOODS — The Grosse Pointe Woods City Clerk’s office is preparing for the upcoming Aug. 4 primary election.

A large part of the preparation is to ensure workers and voters stay safe and healthy as the state and the country continue to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak.

For residents who plan to vote in person at their precinct in Grosse Pointe Woods, the City Clerk’s Office will have in place a number of safety precautions for voters and election workers. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

“Grosse Pointe Woods, in my opinion, is normally a highly active voting community in the first place,” Grosse Pointe Woods City Clerk Lisa Kay Hathaway said. “We’re going to be ready.”

Hathaway said the city will be supplying a number of safety items, including personal protective equipment, hand sanitizer, masks and gloves. There also will be bottles with bleach, water and towels to sanitize booths, pens and voter identifications. In addition, floors will be marked for social distancing.

“We want to keep our voters safe,” Hathaway said. “I want to keep my workers safe as well as the voters. I want every voter to have a pleasant election experience, even given the times we’re facing.”

Several races will be on the ballot, including U.S. senator, representative in the 14th Congressional District, state representative in the 1st District, Wayne County prosecuting attorney and Wayne County sheriff. A Grosse Pointe Woods email blast sent July 14 reminded voters to not split their tickets between political parties.

“Vote only 1 party,” the email blast states. “Do not split your ticket. Whether you vote by absent voter ballot or at the precinct, it is required that only one party be voted in the partisan section.”

A sample ballot is available at the city’s website at www.gpwmi.us. Go to the City Clerk’s Office page and then click on “Elections and Voting.” The page includes information about the upcoming election, including a listing of current polling locations by precinct. Due to construction in three schools where Grosse Pointe Woods precincts are housed, those precincts have been relocated. According to Hathaway, absentee ballots are on the rise.

“We’ve way more than doubled since the 2016 presidential election,” Hathaway said. “In Wayne County, everybody is reporting such great numbers as far as absentee ballots. There’s a definite increase. I think our turnout has already increased by way of absentee.”

Earlier this month and with Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act funds, Hathaway applied for a second city drop box for the absentee ballots to accommodate voters and all the absentee ballots. The goal is to provide more convenience for voters dropping off their ballots. Residents are asked to drop off their absentee ballots in the drop boxes rather than inside City Hall because of COVID-19.

Hathaway also said that the Secretary of State’s office mailed a paper form ballot to all voters that did not request to be placed on the local clerk’s permanent absent voter list. The City Clerk’s Office mailed red, white and blue absent voter application forms to voters who requested to be placed on the clerk’s permanent absent voter list. Because voters could receive two or more application forms, voters are reminded to return only one form, preferably the City Clerk’s form.

According to a July 14 Michigan Secretary of State press release, more than 1.6 million absentee ballots were mailed before the Aug. 4 election to voters who requested them.

“Those who have already received their ballots are encouraged to complete them, sign the back of the envelope and return them by mail or in person at their local clerk’s office as soon as possible,” the press release states.