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What you need to know before voting in the May 5 election

Sec. of State has made several changes amid the coronavirus pandemic
Posted at 9:30 PM, May 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-04 23:40:42-04

(WXMI) — Several cities and townships across West Michigan are scheduled to hold elections on Tuesday.

It’s going to be the first voting day in Michigan since the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in the state the night of the March primary.

While there are no statewide races on ballots Tuesday, what you will see are hyper-local issues.

On Tuesday, each jurisdiction will have just one centralized voting location open, which will allow people with disabilities or people who need to register, the opportunity to vote.

Ballots can also be picked up and dropped off at the polling location Tuesday.

The state believes having one in-person location open is essential for democracy.

“Democracy is essential and in times of crisis the ability to ensure that our citizens are able to hold their elected officials accountable and weigh in on issues critical to their local communities is all the more important,” Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said.

Benson says there has been a large spike in people voting by mail, after the state sent out nearly 200,000 absentee ballots in the mail.

That will likely cut down on the number of people needing to go to the polls, but for those who do need to , it will be a lot different and distant

“We have provided detailed guidance to our local clerks to ensure social distancing practices are in place in that in-person voting location and we’ve also provided masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, wipes and other personal protective equipment for election workers to utilize,” Benson said.

The state also recruited nearly 2000 volunteers to assist clerks or to fill in for those not comfortable working in public.

“Even in times of great uncertainty, people want to vote and they want to weigh in on important local issues. This is all the more reason why we must work together across the state to ensure that for these voters and for every voter, democracy marches on.” Benson said.

A smaller election like this will likely serve as a test run, a preview of what voting could look like come August and November.

“In Michigan, we have the tools to carry out elections that are secure, accurate and safe to participate in,” she added.

To see what issues are on the ballots here in West Michigan, click here.