Community Notices

Local clerks going it alone, await secretary’s visit here

Jocelyn Benson is coming to town Thursday afternoon.

Wayland City Clerk Lee Ann Clausen told City Council members Tuesday evening that most municipalities in Allegan County have decided to “go it alone” in handling the nine consecutive days of open polls for three 2024 elections.

Clausen, president of the Allegan County Clerks Association, noted all clerks in Michigan been forced to offer voters the extra nine days in the wake of passage of Proposal 2 in November 2022.

Meanwhile, the city will welcome a visit from Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson at 3 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 7, at the Millrights and Carpenters facility on Reno Drive. Ms. Benson is expected to talk about Proposal 2.

The new mandate is likely to wreak havoc on local clerks with added times and responsibilities, besides added election costs, and despite ideas about consolidating the duties and among several townships or cities, all but eight in Allegan County will fly solo in the presidential primary in February, the August primary and the general election in November 2024.

“Eight very small municipalities will go together on this, but everybody else is going to go it alone,” the clerk said. She added that much of the extra burden for those nine days will fall on Nan Olney, who has agreed to meet the challenge with polls before election day to be open for voters.

There was a chance that clerks collectively in each of Michigan’s 83 counties could share the duties and costs, but Allegan County Clerk Bob Genetski has decided to leave that to local clerks.

Clausen earlier this month said there were talks to have City of Wayland, Wayland Township, Leighton Township and Dorr Township work together in sharing costs and duties, but since then she has learned that Leighton and Dorr have decided to go it alone. The city and township, with clerks Clausen and Ann McInerney, talked about sharing the duties, but Clausen quipped, “I guess we clerks are control freaks” (in wanting to have the election alone).”

The City Clerk said local officials are unhappy with Genetski’s decision and clerks decided to uninvite Genetski to their meeting Aug. 29. Clausen earlier this summer expressed her displeasure with the County Clerk, suggesting he was leaving local clerks twisting in the wind in coping with a demanding extra task.

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