By Matt Mackinder
Clarkston News Editor
INDEPENDENCE TWP. — With the passage of Proposal 2022-2, and beginning with the Presidential Primary Election on Feb. 27, all voters in Michigan will have the constitutional right to vote in-person prior to Election Day.
This means that voters for every election will have the opportunity to physically cast their ballot for nine consecutive days beginning the second Saturday prior to Election Day and ending on the Sunday before an election. In addition, voters will still have the option of receiving an absentee ballot/mail-in or voting in-person at a precinct on Election Day.
Independence Township and City of the Village of Clarkston residents can take advantage of these dates for early voting, which is not the same as absentee voting. Postcards were recently mailed to all registered voters indicating early voting is now available. Early voting allows a voter to cast a ballot in person, as one would do at a precinct on Election Day only with the option of doing so over a nine-day period from Feb. 17-25.
Absentee voting allows a voter to request a ballot by mail or in-person at a clerk’s office. Voters who received an absentee ballot/mail-in can complete at either home or at the clerk’s office, submit it by mail (no additional postage required), in-person, or by a secure drop box, which is processed and tabulated by a counting board.
“As clerk, my dedication has been to increase voter turnout with the capabilities of providing our residents safe and secure avenues to cast their ballot,” said Township Clerk Cari Neubeck. “As of 2022, those opportunities have expanded with ways to cast your ballot with the trifecta of voting options: by absentee ballot, during nine days of early voting, or on Election Day at your precinct. Your voice matters, no matter how or where you choose to make it heard.”
With early voting, another new change now allows a voter to bring a completed absentee ballot to an early voting site or a precinct on Election Day and insert it into the tabulator. At both a precinct and an early voting site, once a ballot has been inserted into a tabulator, it cannot be traced back to an individual voter.
Each night during the early voting time period, ballots inserted into the tabulator are sealed in a secure approved ballot container. Only after the polls close at 8 p.m. on Election Day will all ballots put through the tabulator at an early voting site be totaled and reported, along with the vote totals from absentee and Election Day ballots. Because of this, no early election results are known or made public.
To vote early, residents need to make certain they are registered to vote at michigan.gov/vote.
During the nine days of early voting, those registered voters within Independence Township and the City of the Village of Clarkston may vote at Bay Court Park’s Brady Lodge (pictured), 6970 Andersonville Road, or Waterford Oaks Activity Center, 2800 Watkins Lake Road. Early voting hours at both locations are 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., except Thursdays when hours are noon-8 p.m.
Voter assistance will be available at both places for those with visual, hearing, or other disabilities. Curbside voting is also an option.
“We have partnered with Oakland County and the City of the Village of Clarkston to provide one location for nine days of early voting at Brady Lodge within Bay Court Park,” noted Neubeck. “The Township Board of Trustees has worked within the past few years to make Brady Lodge accessible year-round with notable improvements.
“This will not only provide ample space while being temperature controlled but will also provide not just our residents but also our neighbors an opportunity to view the grand space possibly for the very first time.”
For more information, township residents can contact Neubeck at 248-625-5113 and village residents can contact City Clerk Karen DeLorge at 248-625-1559.
File photo: Matt Mackinder