Residents cast their votes March 10 at Southfield City Hall. A primary election is set for Aug. 4.

Residents cast their votes March 10 at Southfield City Hall. A primary election is set for Aug. 4.

File photo by Donna Dalziel

Southfield, Lathrup clerks see major increase in absentee ballots

By: Kayla Dimick | Southfield Sun | Published July 28, 2020

 Southfield resident Shirley Trotter works the polls in March.

Southfield resident Shirley Trotter works the polls in March.

File photo by Donna Dalziel


SOUTHFIELD/LATHRUP VILLAGE — Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many voters are skipping the voting booth and opting for the comfort of their homes this primary election.

On Aug. 4, voters in Southfield and Lathrup Village will vote on a variety of offices.

As of July 22, according to Southfield City Clerk Sherikia Hawkins, 20,418 absentee ballots had been issued, and 5,376 of those ballots had been returned. Hawkins said that’s about a 26% return.

Hawkins compared this year’s numbers to the primary of 2018, in which 21,239 ballots total were cast.

“Participation in absentee voting is at an all-time high, as most Southfield registered voters are choosing to vote by absentee ballot,” Hawkins said in an email. “Many are adhering to the model ‘Stay home, stay safe. Vote absentee.”

Lathrup Village City Clerk Yvette Talley said her office has also seen quite the increase in absentee ballots. As of July 24, Talley said she had issued around 1,400 absentee ballots.

“Four years ago, for August, I think I had 298 ballots total,” Talley said. “So it’s a huge increase.”

In Southfield, residents will be casting their votes on:

• U.S. Senator

• Representative in Congress 14th District

• State Representative 35th District

• County Executive

• County Prosecuting Attorney

• County Treasurer

• County Clerk and Register of Deeds

• County Sheriff

• County Water Resources Commissioner

• Judge of 6th Circuit Court,

• County Commissioner District 17

• County Commissioner District 21

• Precinct Delegates

In Lathrup Village, residents will be casting their votes on the same races, with the exception of the County Commissioner District 21.

Both Hawkins and Talley said it is extremely important that residents remember that they cannot split their ticket, meaning voters must adhere to one party column.

And they should remember to stay within that party when they flip the ballot over, the clerks said.

“For this ballot, you have to stay within your party — whichever party you choose. That’s really the key thing here, because if you make a mistake on that portion, then your whole partisan section is voided out. For your non-partisan section, you can do whatever you like,” Talley said.

If you’ve just realized you’ve filled out your ticket incorrectly, Hawkins said voters who have already submitted their ballot by mail can visit their local clerk’s office by 4 p.m. Aug. 3 to spoil their original ballot and cast a new one.

“Voters who have already mailed their ballots cannot change their vote at the polls or at their clerk’s office on election day,” Hawkins said. “Voters who still have their ballot can also bring the ballot to their polling location on election day and surrender it to poll workers to receive a new ballot, allowing them to vote in person.”