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 League of Women Voters of Grosse Pointe volunteers prepare absentee ballots for the August primary June 23 at Pier Park in Grosse Pointe Farms.

League of Women Voters of Grosse Pointe volunteers prepare absentee ballots for the August primary June 23 at Pier Park in Grosse Pointe Farms.

Photo provided by Grosse Pointe Farms


Volunteers prep August primary ballots in Grosse Pointe Farms

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published June 25, 2020

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GROSSE POINTE FARMS — Grosse Pointe Farms officials are expecting to send out more than twice as many absentee ballots for the Aug. 4 primary election than they did for the March primary.

So when the League of Women Voters of Grosse Pointe called Farms Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Derrick Kozicki to see if there was anything it could do to help, Kozicki eagerly accepted. 

“The League of Women Voters reached out because they heard there was going to be an increase (in absentee ballots) because of the pandemic,” Kozicki said. “They were a tremendous help with the election prep.”

On June 23, a group of 12 League of Women Voters of Grosse Pointe members and friends spent a couple of hours at Pier Park preparing 2,200 absentee ballots for mailing. 

“In March at the same relative time, (we had) 1,200 absentee ballot requests,” Kozicki said.

And since the League of Women Voters of Grosse Pointe lent a hand, there have already been several hundred additional ballot requests. As of the afternoon of June 24, Kozicki said the city was up to about 2,500 absentee ballot requests. The Farms has 8,930 registered voters, and while not all of them are expected to cast ballots in the August primary, those who do are expected to make up the majority. Kozicki said he anticipates about 70% of August primary ballots will be absentee.

“We’ll probably end up with about 3,000 voting absentee,” he said.

The volunteers wore masks and social distanced, and the doors to the community building were kept open to reduce the chances of any possible spread of COVID-19, Kozicki said.

Mary Ellen Brayton, director of voter services for the League of Women Voters of Grosse Pointe, said she’s reached out to all five Grosse Pointes and Harper Woods to see if there’s anything league members can do to help. Because many of the people who work at the polls on Election Day are older — and thus considered at a higher risk of dire consequences if they contract COVID-19 — she said some of the other cities have told her that they’re going to need help during the August primary itself.

“They’re going to need more poll workers this year,” Brayton said.

The COVID-19 crisis is the main reason more people say they’re voting by mail this year, Kozicki said. But, now that Michigan voters can cast an absentee ballot without citing a reason, he said he expects more voters to fill out their ballots at home than in the traditional voting booth.

“It’s a very convenient way to vote, and it reduces time spent in lines,” Kozicki said.

Brayton said the League of Women Voters of Grosse Pointe recently conducted a candidate forum via Zoom for the 2nd District Michigan House of Representatives seat currently held by Joe Tate, D-Detroit. Tate is facing Democratic candidate Taylor Harrell, of Detroit, in the primary, while Mayra Rodriguez, of Grosse Pointe Farms, is the sole Republican candidate running to be on the November ballot. The district covers Grosse Pointe City, Farms and Park, along with part of the east side of Detroit. The candidate forum is currently available on the League of Women Voters of Grosse Pointe’s website for voters to watch. To view the candidate forum or for more information about the league, visit its website, lwvgrossepointe.org.

“We’re all about voter education (and) voter registration,” Brayton said.

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