For Clerks And Election Workers May 7 Election Is A Dress Rehearsal For 2020 Election

May 7, 2019

School millages are on ballots Tuesday in Mid Michigan, but voters will also serve another purpose besides casting their votes.

For many local municipalities Tuesday’s elections are a chance for clerks and election workers to practice in advance of the 2020 presidential election.

This election is the first since Proposal 3 passed in November and brought changes to Michigan’s voting laws like no-reason absentee voting and same-day registration.

Robin Stites, is the election supervisor for the City of Lansing. She said she’s not expecting the issue of school millages to draw huge election crowds, but it’s a good opportunity to test the system after Prop 3 was passed.

“We don’t usually get a huge turnout in these smaller special elections, but with all the publicity and interest in proposal three stuff. Maybe we’ll get more people that will turn out. You know, you can register on the same day now, and no-reason absentee voting. But, we’re prepared. We’re on schedule," said Stites.

Chris Swope, Lansing City Clerk, said as of last week the city had received about 30% of absentee ballots returned. He said that’s an indicator that not that many people will turn out for this election.

“You know we’ll probably see less people on election day than return absentee ballots, so probably three or four thousand people on election day. So total turnout, less than ten thousand.”

With over 85,000 eligible voters that’s a less than 10% turnout for this election. But Swope says, it’s still valuable for their election workers to take voters through the changes before the potential surge in same-day registrations and no-reason absentee ballots in 2020.

“At this point we have our eye completely on 2020 in terms of our leadership plan and our worker plan. We’re training toward 2020 right now," said Swope.

This election will also be the first since state lawmakers made changes to challenged ballots during the lame duck session.

Follow Abigail Censky on Twitter: @AbigailCensky