Friday, April 10, 2020

The 6 questions on the March 10 ballot

February 17, 2020
People vote in the East Lansing City Council Election at Hannah Community Center on Nov. 5, 2019.
People vote in the East Lansing City Council Election at Hannah Community Center on Nov. 5, 2019. —
Photo by Sylvia Jarrus | The State News

There will be six ballot questions for East Lansing residents for the March 10 presidential primary election.

The first three questions are for Ingham County residents. One ballot question would increase tax money going to Potter Park and Potter Park Zoo. Another would increase funding for healthcare and mental healthcare for low-income Ingham County residents who are not eligible for Medicaid. The third county ballot question would renew funding for recreational trail creation and maintenance countywide.

Another question will be for those in the Ingham Intermediate School District that aims to increase tax money used for students needing special education.

There will also be a question asking permission for the city to sell over 13,000 square feet of property on the corner of Abbot Road and Albert Avenue to Michigan State University Federal Credit Union. The property would be used to build a five- to eight-story commercial building and would be sold for $810,000.

Those in Lansing, East Lansing, Meridian Township, Lansing Township and Delhi Township will be voting on whether or not to continue funding to Capital Area Transportation Authority.

East Lansing residents can check their voter registration status and review sample ballot questions at Michigan.gov/vote.

There will be three choices for ballots. An option for Democrats and Republicans to vote in their respective primaries and on ballot questions and a non-partisan ballot that will only have ballot questions, East Lansing Clerk Jennifer Shuster said.

Since the passage of Proposition 3 in 2018, Michigan now offers absentee ballots to all registered voters who request them. Shuster said there has been in increase in absentee voting since Proposition 3's passage.

"We're encouraging people to vote absentee," Shuster said.

Voters can register for an absentee ballot by mail up to March 6 and can register for one at the city clerk's desk until 4 p.m. March 9. Voters can fill out absentee ballots at the city clerk's desk on election day.

After the debacle at the Iowa Caucuses, Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum stressed that Ingham County voters don't need to worry about a similar disaster in Michigan.

"The Iowa Caucus was done by party leaders and in a caucus style," Byrum said. "In Michigan we run all elections with election officials."

The chaos at the caucuses can be traced back to an app that was supposed to collect results faster. Michigan uses paper ballots, high-speed scanners and East Lansing has a counting board, Shuster said.

"I am pretty confident there would be no situation in where Michigan would be looking at an app (to count votes)," Byrum said.

Byrum said, while all elections can face issues like power outages, flooding or other extreme weather, Ingham County does all they can to ensure fair elections.

"When our democracy is at stake we need to make sure it is done properly," Byrum said.

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