Dickinson clerk looks to state for new voting guidance

AA line at a polling place is shown. County clerks across the state are awaiting guidance from the Secretary of State after the passing of Proposal 2 which requires 9 days of early, in-person voting. (Mining Journal file photo)

IRON MOUNTAIN — County clerks across Michigan will await guidance from the state after the Nov. 8 passage of Proposal 2, which requires nine days of early in-person voting in future statewide and federal elections.

At Monday’s Dickinson County Board meeting, Clerk-Register of Deeds Carol Bronzyk said staffing is one of the main concerns. “We’re waiting to see how it will be implemented,” she said.

Michigan already allows early in-person absentee voting through the offices of municipal clerks. But unlike absentee voting that largely occurs through mail-in ballots, in-person voting allows citizens to go to a polling site and cast a ballot the same way they do on Election Day, including feeding it into a tabulator.

The proposal allows municipalities from the same county to share an early voting site. They may also contract with their county clerk to conduct it. There are few specifics beyond that, though.

It’s expected that Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson will work with the state Legislature to clarify the process.

Among other provisions, Proposal 2 allows municipalities to accept charitable donations and contributions to conduct and administer elections. However, they would need to be publicly disclosed and could not come from foreign sources.

Bronzyk said she was happy with the performance of elections workers Nov 8. “Everyone did a really good job,” she said.

Voter turnout in Dickinson County was about 51%, compared with an estimated 55% statewide.

In other action, the county board:

— Heard Controller Brian Bousley report that a regional medical examiner’s building under construction at Ford Airport should be ready for occupancy before summer, or possibly earlier. The county is investing roughly $100,000. The facility will likely be staffed by Dr. Martin Cristanelli, a pathologist who serves as Dickinson’s medical examiner but who could also be contracted for autopsies as needed by other counties.

— Received an update from Commissioner John Degenaer Jr. on Pinecrest Medical Care Facility in Powers, which is owned by Dickinson, Delta and Menominee counties. Like many nursing facilities, the center has been challenged throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, but “we think we’re going to come out OK,” he said. Degenaer serves as Dickinson’s representative on the Pinecrest Board.

— Heard Commissioner Joe Stevens report that the Dickinson-Iron District Health Department is considering moving its Iron County office from Iron River, where there are problems with the building, to one that’s become available in Crystal Falls.

— Learned from Commissioner Barbara Kramer that at least 22 exhibitors have signed on for Lake Antoine Park Partners’ Lights at the Lake, a drive-through light display at the park’s campground. There is no charge to drive through the campground Nov. 26 through Dec. 31 to enjoy the displays.


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