Southfield’s precincts and polling locations change

By: Kayla Dimick | Southfield Sun | Published July 25, 2014

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SOUTHFIELD — City officials are urging residents to double check their voter identification cards because precincts and some polling locations have changed, just in time for the primary election Aug. 5.

City Clerk Nancy Banks said the reason for the changes was to deter long waiting times for the presidential election in 2016.

Long wait times plagued the 2012 election, forcing some voters to wait for hours on end, she said.

“The precincts were changed to better align the number of people in certain locations,” Banks said.  “For example, some precincts were getting up to 1,000 registered voters, while other precincts had only 900.”

Another reason for the changes is to better accommodate voting precincts located in schools.

“We have Birmingham schools in Southfield and Oak Park schools in Southfield,” Banks said. “Those precincts were split, so if there was a school item on the ballot, I’d have to send out two sets of ballots.”

Putting each school district in its own precinct, City Councilman Ken Siver said, will save the city around $22,000 and hopefully eliminate confusion.

Reducing the number of precincts from 43 to 36 came up in June of 2013, and the decision was approved unanimously by the Southfield City Council. The changes became effective in January 2014.

“The clerk never tries to inconvenience the voters, but she’s done the right thing. It’s just not cost-effective to operate as many as we were,” Siver said.

People confused about where they should be voting this year can visit the Michigan Voter Information Center on the Secretary of State’s website, webapps.sos.state.mi.us/mivote/.

Siver also said that, hopefully, the changes will not affect voters significantly, and despite the changes, residents will still show up at the polls.

“We want people to vote. We don’t want to make it difficult,” Siver said.

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