Farmington Hills clerk urges mailing ballots early

Combining Michigan’s new no-reason absentee voting law with the COVID-19 pandemic has driven Farmington Hills absent voter (AV) ballot requests to a record high.

City Clerk Pam Smith, who has worked in the clerk’s office for 30 years, said Monday that even during a presidential election, the city has not issued more than 15,000 AV ballots. This year, she expects to see 25,000 for the August 4 state-wide primary – and even more in the November general election.

City council members have authorized the purchase of additional high-speed scanners to process absentee ballots, but Smith said that’s not the only issue.

With just a few weeks left before Election Day, only about 3,800 of the ballots issued have been returned. Smith said people tend to mail in ballots later, but the pandemic could affect delivery. To be counted, ballots must be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day.

“We are a little worried and want to get word out to our residents that the postal service is a little slower right now, and they’ve even sent letters to us saying it could take up to a week for mail to get to its destination,” Smith said.

Voters have alternatives to mail when it comes to applying for or casting their AV ballots:

  • There’s a drive-up drop box for election materials in front of the Police Station, 31655 W. 11 Mile Rd., and a drop slot on the brick wall at the City Hall south entrance, 31555 W. 11 Mile Rd.
  • You can visit the Clerk’s office at City Hall to apply for, obtain, vote, and return your ballot. Bring your photo identification.

The Clerk’s office is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and will be open extended hours for election-related business on these dates:

  • Monday, July 20-Thursday, July 23 – 8:30 a.m-7 p.m.
  • Monday, July 27-Thursday, July 30 – 8:30 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Saturday, August 1 – 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

To learn more, visit fhgov.com.

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