Ordinance updated for odd-year elections in St. Clair Shores

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published January 25, 2019

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — In an attempt to make sure that St. Clair Shores is clear about its compliance with state election law, the City Council approved an update to its odd-year primary elections ordinance.

While City Clerk Mary Kotowski said that there was never a problem in the city because of resolutions adopted by the City Council to make St. Clair Shores in compliance with the requirement that the filing deadline for city office is the 15th Tuesday before the primary election, city ordinance had not actually been updated to reflect those changes, opening up the potential that it could confuse candidates.

In December, the state Legislature passed a law making sure that every community has the requirement for odd-year elections that the filing deadline is the 15th Tuesday before the primary election.

“This ordinance is basically a clarification to make Chapter 12 Ordinance 550 in compliance with state law,” Kotowski said.

In addition, Kotowski said, the implementation of Proposal 3 — a ballot initiative to bring same-day voter registration, no-reason absentee voting and other election changes that was approved by 66 percent of voters Nov. 6 — has begun.

“It is totally going to change the way we do things,” she told the City Council.

Bills passed by the Legislature now make it so that residents changing their address on their driver’s license will automatically be registered to vote at the new address, unless the person declines; changes the deadline to register to vote at the Secretary of State’s Office or by mail to 15 days before the election instead of 30; and allows a person to register to vote in person at the City Clerk’s Office during the 14 days prior to an election with proof of residency.

There will also be no-reason absentee voting, Kotowski said.

“The application forms are all being revised,” she said Jan. 21. “We expect to see a significant increase in the amount of absentee balloting, as well as changes in my office with how we’re going to handle additional voters. I think our volume is going to go up significantly.”

While she said that there will be extra work for city clerks, “there are some good things” coming out of the new laws.

The City Council unanimously approved the changes to city ordinance 12.550.

“Thank you for working on this,” Councilwoman Candice Rusie said.

Kotowski said that the new ordinance would be changed in the city’s online municipal code as soon as it went into effect that week.