New voting implementations coming for elections in St. Clair Shores

By: Alyssa Ochss | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published February 7, 2024

Shutterstock image


ST. CLAIR SHORES — For the Feb. 27 presidential primary election, new early voting implementations voted on in November 2022 and now dictated by state law will be in place.

The ballot item passed by voters was Proposal 2-22. According to a document by the Senate Fiscal Agency, the proposal includes amendments such as an early in-person voting period nine days before an election, adding more absentee ballot drop boxes and giving voters a right to a “single application to vote absentee in all elections.”

These implementations are for state and federal elections.

St. Clair Shores City Clerk Abby Barrett said the early in-person voting will be available at City Hall from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. beginning Saturday, Feb. 17, and running to Sunday, Feb. 25. It is available for all precincts.

“The other thing is with absentee voting, you can also take your absentee ballot and bring it to an early voting site to run it through the tabulator or you can bring it to your polling place on Election Day to insert your ballot into the tabulator there,” Barrett said.

The deadline to spoil your ballot has also changed to two Fridays prior to the election at 5 p.m. Barrett said. For this election, that deadline is 5 p.m. on Feb. 16.

“So that’s different for voters. They usually have a lot more time, but now it’s going to cut off the day before early voting starts because ballots are going to start being tabulated,” Barrett said.

According to the St. Clair Shores website, absentee ballots are available at the City Clerk’s office 40 days before an election. Voters will also be given the option to join the permanent ballot list.

“Now, once you have joined the Permanent Ballot List you will automatically be sent an absent voter ballot for all elections,” the website says.

After the November 2024 election, the state will phase out the permanent application list and voters who are not on the permanent ballot list will have to request an application before each election.

Amy Anikewich, St. Clair Shores deputy city clerk, said though the ballots are fed through the tabulators, no results are being generated.

“I think that’s a security concern for a lot of people,” Anikewich said. “So every single day the tabulator gets closed down, but the results aren’t actually being generated until election night.”

“No one will know who’s in the lead or anything like that because the equipment will not print anything to know who’s winning,” Barrett said.

It is mandatory that the new implementations be ready for the February election, and it is the first election everyone across the state has to do it.

Barrett said they’re still working out a couple of things as well. Anikewich said technology needed to be in place across the state so a person cannot vote twice.

“With absentee voting, I live in St. Clair Shores now. I could get my absentee ballot up to 40 days before the election, turn it in,” Anikewich said. “But let’s say in 20 days, I move to another community. I can go register in that community and what the system will tell my prior community (is) to void, to reject that ballot and now allow me to vote in my new community.”

Drop boxes are located at City Hall, Veterans Memorial Park, the St. Clair Shores Golf Club, the St. Clair Shores Civic Arena and Blossom Heath Park. Barrett said the drop boxes are under constant surveillance.

Postage on absentee ballots and applications will be prepaid Barrett said.

“They just have to put it in their mailbox, drop it off in a post office box and it will get sent back to us,” Barrett said.

Anikewich said there is a lot of misinformation and disinformation floating around and that they’re more than happy for voters to contact them with their questions.

“We’re transparent and we want people to know that,” Anikewich said. “That we take election integrity very seriously and the security of elections very seriously.”

The public is also welcome to come see the process.

“There’s going to be a public viewing area for people to come and sit and just check out the process just to see if they feel comfortable with even doing it or to see what it looks like,” Barrett said.

All election rules still apply to early voting, including no voter harassment and a ban on campaigning within 100 feet of the front door of a voting location.

Early voting and the other implementations have garnered some criticism.

St. Clair Shores City Councilman Chris Vitale said some of the state referendums don’t seem like they’re coming from grassroots efforts. He said it seemed to have bloomed overnight.

“There’s a well-funded group of people who want something on the statewide ballot and have the money to take out the advertising and there’s really no counter on the other side of the argument,” Vitale said. “Whoever might oppose it, there’s virtually no one there to run a counter campaign on it.”

He added later on he wants to know where the ideas for the early voting and other implementations come from.

“It just feels like it came out of nowhere; (it’s) well-funded, and here it is,” Vitale said.

He said the new rules don’t do anything to enhance the idea of ballot security.

“It does nothing to address that and I think that is long overdue to be addressed,” Vitale said.

He added that the idea that everything has to be easy is not doing society any good. He said senior citizens looked upon voting as their civic duty and would not want absentee ballots until they absolutely had to use them.

“Those are people that are engaged,” Vitale said. “Just to have voting become some sort of flippant, easy (thing), it loses all meaning. I’m not particularly interested in the views of the uninformed and the people that aren’t willing to put forth an effort.”

To find more election information, visit the St. Clair Shores website at or the state of Michigan’s website at

To contact the clerk’s office in St. Clair Shores, email or call (586) 447-3303.