Michigan's May 5 elections continue despite coronavirus concerns
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Michigan elections are still on for Tuesday, May 5.
Residents across the state — including some in northern Michigan — will vote on a variety of local ballot initiatives.
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson says there will still be limited in-person voting, but the elections will be done primarily by mail.
"Every registered voter in a district with an election recieved an absentee voter application from our office," Benson says. "If for some reason you're unable to vote by mail, you can show up in-person at your clerk's office on election day itself, which is Tuesday, and get a ballot and return it right there."
Former Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, now a state senator, has called for postponing the elections until August due to the pandemic. Johnson says holding an election will put clerks and voters at risk.
In some cases, some local governments did choose to postpone May 5 elections. Still, Benson says it's important to continue with elections for jurisdictions where ballot proposals are considered essential.
"If we can hold elections safely, which we’re able to do in Michigan because unlike other states we have vote by mail, and the ability to vote by mail — then we wanted to be able to do so, but only if the questions (on the ballot) were absolutely essential.
Benson says some communities are set to vote on things like millages which could affect school funding for the fall.
“We wanted to ascertain … the essential nature of this election, and also recognizing that democracy itself is essential,” Benson says.
To find out if your district has an election on May 5, click here.