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Birmingham to partner with others for elections

By Grace Lovins

In preparation for the 2024 election cycle, Birmingham will partner with Oakland County and two local townships to provide early voting after city commissioners on Monday, September 18, authorized the city clerk to enter an agreement.

After the November 2022 general election, voters approved ballot Proposal 2, known as the “Promote the Vote” petition. The proposal ushered in several new voting rights that were added to the Michigan Constitution.

Voters now have the option to vote early, either with early mail-in ballots or in-person at early voting sites prior to state and federal elections. Municipalities are required to have at least one early voting site for state and federal elections. Voters will get 10 days to cast their ballots early.

Birmingham Clerk Alexandria Bingham said she has been working with other groups to get early voting squared away by next year’s deadline.

“What we’re doing right now is – the clerks, legislators, the bureau of elections with the state, the county – we are all working together right now to get all the parts in place to do what that proposal said to do in time, which we have to have all of this in place by March of 2024,” she said.

The new option for voters also came with new options for municipalities to partner with their county and other municipalities to conduct early voting. Bingham presented an agreement between the city, Oakland County, Bloomfield Township and Southfield Township to partner together for early voting. Bingham said the partnership will help with costs and workload.

“We’re going to be working with Oakland County, Bloomfield Township, Southfield Township and the city. That means instead of having one clerk having to find all the people, staff all the people, get the equipment for themselves, the partnership is kind of a ‘divide and conquer,’” Bingham said.

Jurisdictions that partner with the county or other groups can get roughly 80 percent of their costs reimbursed through grants from the state, said Bingham. Municipalities that opt to work alone to provide early voting will only receive about 40 percent of their costs reimbursed.

Voters will get to see the partnership in action as early as this November during the state general election. Early voting will take place at the Bloomfield Township Public Library, said Bingham, which allows the city to split the cost with the township.

According to Bingham, Oakland County emphasizes consistency for voters, which is reflected in the agreement. There will be a statutory timeframe in which the municipalities and the county will evaluate the process and decide if the process worked, or if changes need to be made.

Commissioners voted 7-0 to authorize Bingham to enter into the agreement and partnership with Oakland County, Bloomfield Township and Southfield Township.


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