By Judy Reed
Only a handful of voters in Sand Lake trickled into the village offices on Tuesday, September 15 to exercise their right to vote. And that, along with budget cuts, is causing Sand Lake to look at the possibility of changing their election date to November in future years.
According to Beth Miller, Sand Lake village clerk, 16 people made it to the polls, and six more voted through absentee ballot. That’s out of 322 registered voters.
But Miller wasn’t that surprised. “It was an uncontested election,” she noted.
Board president Kirk Thielke received 22 votes, trustees Carol Simpson 18, Billi Jo Thielke 20, and newcomer Celena Rosset 15.
Two years ago 48 voters turned out, in a contested election.
Miller estimated that this year’s election cost the village about $1,200.
“We’re considering moving the election to November to consolidate it with Nelson Township elections to save on costs,” explained Miller.
Sand Lake is one of approximately 90 villages in Michigan to exercise a special option that permits them to hold elections on the first Tuesday, after the second Monday in September, in odd-numbered years.
Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land urges villages to make the change to November. “In these tight budget times, I strongly encourage cities and villages holding their elections in September to consider changing them to the even-numbered year November election,” said Land. “It’s more convenient for the voter and saves cities and villages taxpayer dollars.”
Miller noted that if they did decide to change the date, that they would have to do it by resolution, and that terms of currently elected officials would need to be extended.