COVID-19 outbreak causing May election concerns for Kalamazoo County | Michigan Radio

COVID-19 outbreak causing May election concerns for Kalamazoo County

Mar 18, 2020

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Governor Gretchen Whitmer is expected to issue an executive order Wednesday that may change or cancel the May 5th election because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kalamazoo County Clerk Tim Snow says he's contacted school districts that have millages and bond issues on the ballot, asking them to postpone their requests.

​"We are asking them to move their questions and, basically, to eliminate the May election," says Snow. ​

​If that isn't possible, Snow says he may try to hold the first mail-only election in Michigan's history.

Kalamazoo City Clerk Scott Borling says he was about to send out 8,000 applications for absentee ballots for the May election.​

"Normally, that's an invitation for them to come to City Hall. One of the immediate questions is, can we put something in there saying, no, you have to do this by mail. Typically, the State Bureau of Elections doesn't like us putting anything additional in," says Borling.​

​Like many local governments, the City of Kalamazoo has closed most of its buildings to the public because of the pandemic.

Tuesday night, Kalamazoo County commissioners rushed a millage request for 9-1-1 emergency phone service onto the August ballot without any public comment. Commissioners say that was necessary because the outbreak may cancel their meetings next month.​