2018-10-25 / Front Page

Clerks advise voters to prepare ahead of the general election

By Ben Gagnon
810-452-2661 • bgagnon@mihomepaper.com

FLUSHING — With the general election right around the corner, local clerks are advising voters to prepare ahead of time before they head to the polls on Nov. 6.

One key change that could affect voters this year is the elimination of straight-ticket voting. Under a recent federal appeals court ruling, checking one box to vote Republican or Democratic is no longer available as an option.

This August, a federal judge in Detroit blocked a 2016 state law that banned straight-ticket voting in Michigan. But a month later, the United States 6th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that decision to allow the ban to go into effect.

Voters will now have to take time to check every box for each race, regardless if they are splitting their ticket.

Flushing Township Clerk Wendy Meinberg said that while the elimination of straight-ticket voting could create longer lines, she’s not sure if it will be a major hindrance for voters.

“We haven’t had a big election like this without the straight ticket option,” she said. “In that regard, it’s unprecedented. I don’t think there will be many complications, other than causing a little backup.”

Meinberg added that a strong turnout of absentee ballots could help to stem long lines on Election Day.

In the City of Flushing, Clerk Michelle King said that her polling precincts should be adequate to handle the lines.

“We have large precincts with plenty of space,” she said. “We’re going to set it up like a presidential election, with extra voting booths, tables and workers.”

Both clerks are advising voters to familiarize themselves with the candidates and proposals on the ballots so that they can save time at the polls.

“Get prepared by logging on to Michigan.gov/vote,” King said. “Voters can find out what precincts to visit, see who’s running and what the proposals are.”

King and her staff are also spreading pre-election awareness about the election, such as submitting informational flyers to the Flushing Area Senior Center and talking to absentee voters who are picking up their materials in person at city hall.

Meinberg is reminding voters that the ballot will be two-sided, with candidates on the front and proposal language on the back. She’s also recommending that people should carefully fill out the ballots so that they don’t forget to check off necessary boxes.

The polls will open statewide on Nov. 6 at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.

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