Early voting provides new choice for voters, new challenge for clerks

By David Fleet
Brandon Twp.—  On Feb. 17 voters statewide could head to the polls for the 2024 Presidential Primary.
Due to the passage of Proposal 2022-2, which was approved by Michigan voters in 2022, a constitutional amendment gives voters the right to vote early and in person at early voting sites before statewide and federal elections. It also requires that early voting sites must be open for nine consecutive days beginning on the second Saturday before the election and ending on the Sunday before the election, for at least eight hours each day.
As of Wednesday, Brandon Township had tallied 73 votes.
“I think it’s been great,” said Roselyn Blair, Brandon township clerk. “People are excited to come into the township offices, especially if they’ve never been here before. People feel really comfortable here.”
Voters in Brandon Township can vote in the board meeting room at 395 Mill St., Ortonville, every day 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and until 8 p.m. on Wednesdays, until Feb. 25.
“I feel like I made the best decision for our voters,” she said. “I couldn’t do this without the help of our election staff and election inspectors. We have wonderful election workers that make our election possible. And the community is an absolute blessing.”
Voters with absentee ballots can also go in during early-voting hours and put their absentee ballots in the tabulator.
As of mid-day Wednesday, Feb. 21 Groveland Township recorded 60 early voters. Of those voters, eight had been issued Absent Voter ballots but chose to vote them in-person at the early voting site.
“For many constituents, this provides a level of comfort to visibly see their ballot being processed,” said Jenell Keller, township clerk. “Though many residents are still unaware of the opportunity to vote early, those who have participated have been excited to be a part of this historical event; this is the first chance voters have had to physically put their ballot through the tabulator prior to the ‘traditional’ election day.”
Many voters will continue to vote by absentee from the comfort of their home, and still many will emerge on Feb. 27 to experience the traditional community feeling of civic duty. Early voting will continue from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. through Sunday, Feb. 25, and election day hours will be from 7 a.m.-8 p.m.
As of Wednesday, there were 63 ballots cast at Atlas Township.
“On the first day, Sunday we had just five voters,” said Katie Vick, township clerk. “All voters that have come in so far are pretty happy. Some voters struggle to justify the expense of the early voting, others found using the tabulator for the absentee ballot provides reassurance.”
On Friday Feb. 16, the day before the elections it was stressful as the state was still sending procedural changes at the last minute, she said.
Voters in Atlas Township and the Village of Goodrich can vote in the township offices 7386 Gale Road, Grand Blanc, every day until Feb. 25.
“We’ll be voting early again in August and November, but not May,” she said.

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