Michigan State University

Fix will fill empty ballots after election clerk errors

Jon Harrison

The Michigan Senate on Wednesday unanimously approved a fast-tracked bill to fill empty or partial ballots in at least four Michigan communities where political candidates missed the state filing deadline because of faulty information from local clerks.

State Rep. Lee Chatfield, R-Levering, introduced the legislation after Sault Ste. Marie Clerk Robin Troyer gave candidates a filing deadline spelled out in the city charter rather than a 2012 state law that superseded it.

As a result, several candidates for mayor and city council were left off the November ballot, which currently includes two people who have been appointed to other positions and no longer want the elected jobs.

Clerks in Tecumseh, Bessmer and Lake Angelus also gave candidates the wrong filing deadlines, disqualifying otherwise qualified candidates from the ballot.

With ballot printing looming, the state Senate approved the bill in a 37-0 vote, sending it to Gov. Rick Snyder’s desk for an expected signature following passage last week in the Michigan House.

The measure would allow cities to extend the deadline for nominating petitions if a local clerk publishes faulty information. Clerks who give out erroneous dates would be required to undergo training, and their municipalities would be subject to fines.

For the full article, see Jonathan Oosting, "Fix will fill empty ballots after election clerk errors", Detroit News, September 13, 2017.

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