Township typo leads to kerfuffle over election date

Allegan County

SALEM TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Nov. 3. Circle the day on your calendar: it is the day of the upcoming presidential election. 

There has been a little bit of confusion on the matter in one township in Allegan County, which mailed a newsletter to residents along with their spring tax bill stating the election was Nov. 10.

Salem Township leaders say they are grateful the mistake was caught with weeks to go before the contest. They wish they would have caught it sooner.

“It was a typo on our part. That’s really all it is,” Salem Township Clerk Betty Brower said. “I’m surprised that somebody actually read it.”

Kathryn Kramer did read the letter mailed to taxpaying residents of Salem Township. She spotted the mistake.

“I received my tax bill last week showing my taxes were paid and inside the letter, they always give a little newsletter on what’s going on, and so, like a good citizen you read through it to see if there’s anything you need to… look at,” Kramer said. “When I turned it over to the page two what I saw was kind of interesting.”

The letter read, in part, “Salem Township will be welcoming in person voters at our open polls for the upcoming Primary on August 4, 2020 and the Presidential on November 10, 2020.”

The summer newsletter from Salem Township that included an incorrect date for the presidential election.

“I decided to then call Allegan County and I said, ‘What day are we voting?’ And they said Nov. 3, and I said, ‘Well, that’s what I thought,’” Kramer said. “I can’t believe that they (Salem Township leaders) say that nobody reads it, you know?”

The township said its Summer Newsletter was sent in July; however, Kramer’s letter was postmarked Sept. 15, just last week.

Allegan County officials contacted Brower and other township leadership, instructing them to issue a correction. 

“We have since put it on our website and we are also going to put it on our electronic sign outside,” Brower said. “We’re sorry it happened. Wish we would’ve found it before but … that’s the way it is.”

What is on the township website is not so much a correction as a notice on the site’s bulletin board that reads, “ELECTION DAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2020.” The statement hovers above a colorful picture of patriotic themed buttons that say, “VOTE.”

Kramer feels more action is required as many township residents may not have access to the website. 

“I think it’s great that they’ve taken super action by putting it on their billboard and on their website, but this was mailed. So I think they need to send a letter to all our residents,” Kramer said. “If you’re going to mail it to us, I think you should mail us a rebuttal stating the correct information.”

As of Sept. 23, the correction had not been posted on the electronic sign in front of the township office. 

Allegan County Clerk Bob Genetski told New 8 he believes the voters of Salem Township are “well informed.” Genetski doesn’t believe the mistake will become an issue come Nov. 3. Additionally, the township has included the correct date of the upcoming election inside absentee ballots being sent out this week. 

“I think the township holds responsibility. They can say it was a typo, but then who’s really doing the drafting? Who’s proofreading those newsletters?” Kramer said. “If you mailed it to begin with, you should mail the correction. Simple.”

It is unclear exactly how many residents received the newsletter with the incorrect election date.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Know something newsworthy? Report It!

News 8 Links