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How some Southwestern Michigan counties are tackling early voting

A disheveled white and blue sign sits on a gray concrete path in front of a large dark green bush. The sign points in the direction of the polling location, a nearly full-glass building.
Leona Larson
Though early voting will not start until 2024 in most counties, 13 municipalities started early voting early during the November 2023 election.

Last year, Michigan voters approved early voting. We asked election officials in three counties how they’re preparing.

Most counties won’t offer early voting until 2024, but St. Joseph County Clerk Lindsay Oswald said preparations began right after the amendment passed.

“We finished the canvass for that November ‘22 election and then it was sitting down and looking at what the requirements were and what we were going to need to implement," Oswald said.

St. Joseph County voters will have one early-voting location for the 2024 elections.

Van Buren County will share this approach. Suzie Roehm is the Van Buren County Clerk.

She said having one location will save the county money.

“We're saving many, many tax dollars," Roehm said. "It's going to lighten the financial load for everybody.”

Kalamazoo County Clerk Meredith Place said the county needs to fill over 300 Election Inspector shifts for the 2024 elections.

Place says she remains hopeful they will fill these positions.      

“We have folks who want to be part of that excitement and want to be part of something brand new.”

Michael Symonds reports for WMUK through the Report for America national service program.

Report for America national service program corps member Michael Symonds joined WMUK’s staff in 2023. He covers the “rural meets metro” beat, reporting stories that link seemingly disparate parts of Southwest Michigan.