By Jim Bloch
The city of St. Clair has officially designated its Municipal Building as the site at which residents from all three wards may cast nine days of early votes in the state and federal elections beginning in 2024.
The address of the Municipal Building is 547 N. Carney Drive.
The city council voted unanimously at its regular meeting Nov. 6 to adopt a resolution that laid out the early voting plan.
Michigan voters adopted Proposal 2 in 2022 to amend the Michigan Constitution to require each municipality to have at least one early voting site for state and federal elections.
According to the resolution, “early voting must consist of a minimum of nine consecutive days of in-person voting starting the second Saturday before the election up to and including the Sunday prior to the election, with eight hours of in-person voting each day.”
The voting hours each of the nine days will be 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Voting on Election Day runs 7 a.m.-8 p.m.
“At a previous meeting, I let council know that the early voting plan was approved by the election commission,” said Annette Sturdy, city clerk, as heard on the recording of the city council meeting posted on YouTube.
The election commission consists of Sturdy, City Superintendent Quentin Bishop and City Attorney Jim Downey. It approved the election plan at its Sept. 27 meeting.
“The resolution before you formally establishes the early voting site and it’s required because it changes the location of the polling site,” said Sturdy.
Normally, Third Ward residents vote at the club house of Pine Shores Golf Course. First and Second Ward residents vote at the Municipal Building. The Third Ward consists of residents south of Clinton Avenue. The First Ward consists of residents north of Vine Street and east of the railroad tracks. The Second Ward lies between the other two wards.
“So each ward will come here for early voting?” asked Mayor Pro Tem Mike LaPorte.
“Correct,” said Sturdy. “For the nine days of early voting, each ward will vote here. Communication will have to be established with each registered voter, so we’ll start working on that after the resolution (is approved).”
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson offered cities three options to comply with the constitutional amendment. Municipalities could enter an agreement with their county government to conduct early voting. They could enter an agreement with one or more neighboring municipality and offer a joint voting site. Or a municipality could hold its own early voting at a set site or sites.
St. Clair County is not currently offering to host an early voting center.
“The St. Clair Election Commission determined the best practice for the city of St. Clair will be to conduct early voting as a single municipality,” according to the resolution.
The resolution passed 7-0.
Jim Bloch is a freelance writer based in St. Clair, Michigan. Contact him at email@example.com.