What Do They Do?
It takes a lot of work to have an election and this department ensures we all have the opportunity to register to vote and participate in elections. There are over 500 voting precincts in the City of Detroit–these are the districts our polling locations are divided into–and each precinct must be prepared for an election. Voters have to be assigned to a precinct ahead of time. Precincts have to be assigned to a voting location, be properly staffed, and have voting equipment and materials. Additionally, ahead of election day, absentee ballots (these are the ballots people cast ahead of election day when they’re unable to make it to the polls), have to be provided to those who request one. When the polls close on election day, all votes from that day and from the absentee ballots submitted ahead of time must be counted and certified, or officially approved, to finalize the election results.
How Is It Organized?
The Department of Elections has led by the elected City Clerk and supported by the Elections Commission. That commission is also led by the City Clerk and has two other members: Detroit Corporation Counsel and the City Council President. The Department of Elections also works with the Secretary of State who is the Chief Elections Official for the State of Michigan.
The Elections Commission is responsible for:
- Supervising all elections in the city
- Providing places for citizens to vote
- Providing ballots for voting devices
- Preventing fraud and corruption in registration, voting or the counting of votes
- Purging (removing) the registration records of individuals who are not qualified voters
- Revising boundaries of election precincts so that the number of voters in each precinct does not conflict with Michigan law
- Appointing qualified election officers for each election
- Prosecuting anyone believed guilty of violation of election laws
- Voter registrations and transfers
How Can I Get Involved?
There are lots of ways to participate in elections beyond voting, and if you or a family member is unable to vote, you can still participate in elections.
Become a Pollworker
Pollworkers or Precinct Inspectors are individuals who facilitate the voting process in precincts. When a person arrives to vote there are people who look up their names and confirm they are registered to vote; people who prepare the ballot for them to complete; and others who help submit the ballot into the counting machine. Each of these people are pollworkers. You apply to become one and you’re paid for your time on election day, plus you can be as young as 16 to become a pollworker.
Attend an Election Commission Meeting
Election Commission Meetings are open to the public and offer an opportunity for public comment. Let your voice be heard about your elections experience; voice your questions or concerns.
Support Voter Registration and Elections Education Efforts
The Department of Elections has outreach efforts to connect with Detroiters across the city. You could be a part of those efforts to get information out to your community.
Contact the Department of Elections for more information about any of these opportunities. Visit https://detroitmi.gov/departments/elections, call (313) 876-0190 or visit the Department of Elections office at 2978 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit, MI 48202