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Kalamazoo Seeks Election Feedback

Sehvilla Mann

The City of Kalamazoo wants feedback on its elections. During the pandemic last year, the City added new services. They included ballot drop boxes in several locations.

Kalamazoo City Clerk Scott Borling says he hopes to hear from residents about how well those new services worked.

"What services were most beneficial to voters, and what should we take with us moving forward so they become not enhanced services but part of our regular services that we offer to voters."

Borling says the City is looking for ways to make voting easier and more convenient.

"We want to take down barriers for people who maybe don't always vote, maybe because of work schedules or other factors that they don't necessarily participate. And we want to see how we can get people to participate."

Borling says the City is soliciting comments with the idea of adding to, rather than taking away, services that were offered to voters during the pandemic.

"We're not going into it with any particular idea of wanting to necessarily eliminate any of these things. We're just wanting to see which services were most helpful to make sure that we continue those as we move into the future."

Republican bills in Lansing would make changes in Michigan's elections that voting rights groups say would restrict access to the polls. One bill would limit the use of remote ballot drop boxes. Another would require a photocopy of an ID to request and absentee ballot. Borling says some of the bills could get in the way of local election initiatives.

"There's a bill that would prohibit us placing return postage on the absentee ballot envelopes. I think that is really something that should be handled at the local. If the City wants to do that, then the City should be able to do that."

Borling says he hopes feedback from the city's voters will have an effect at the State Capitol.

"One thing that getting community imput might enable us to do is advocate at the state level for those things that we hear that our voters want."

Kalamazoo City commissioners hear the first round of comments during their "Committee of the Whole" meeting at 5 p.m. on Manday. May 17. Residents who want to comment can call (269) 226-6573 or email input to: hello (at) kalamazoocity (dot) org.

Andy Robins has been WMUK's News Director since 1998 and a broadcast journalist for over 24 years. He joined WMUK's staff in 1985. Under his direction, WMUK has received numerous awards for news reporting.
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