GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — When West Michigan voters cast their ballot in the May 2 election, they’ll be deciding on bonds, millages and other municipal proposals.
News 8 is tracking dozens of races in 15 counties. Here are some that we’re paying special attention to:
The city of Holland is asking voters to approve a land sale that would allow it to move forward with redeveloping the waterfront. The city wants to sell two plots to create space for the project. Under the city charter, selling waterfront or utility property requires a 60% yes vote from residents.
In Algoma Township in northern Kent County, voters will decide whether to leave Kent District Library or stay. If the township exits KDL, it would launch a millage to start its own library in partnership with neighboring Solon Township. The closest KDL library to Algoma Township is in the city of Rockford.
Wyoming has a $4 million millage on the ballot to support the Department of Public Safety. The millage would allow the city to hire six more firefighters and run all four of its fire stations. It would also hire four more police officers and invest in community policing and crime prevention programs.
In Kalamazoo County’s Cooper Township, voters will decide whether to establish a special assessment district to support the fire department. A special assessment district acts like a millage, but it allows rate flexibility to go up or down, depending on the circumstances. The township supervisor previously told News 8 that the board is looking at a rate of no more than 2 mills.
Grand Haven Area Public Schools is asking for a $155 million bond that would support a number of building improvements, including the construction of a new middle school to replace Lakeshore Middle School.
Caledonia Community Schools is asking for a $61 million supplemental bond. It got an $88 million bond in 2020 but says inflation has jacked up construction costs and the work cannot be completed without more money.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT VOTING
In-person polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. on May 2. You can find your polling place and view a sample ballot by visiting the Michigan Secretary of State’s Voter Information Center website. You don’t need to show photo identification to vote, but it does speed up the process, so the SOS and local clerks advise you bring your ID.
If you’re voting absentee, your ballot must be back in the hands of your clerk when polls close to get counted — a May 2 postmark is not good enough. Less than a week out from the election, you may want to take it in person to your clerk’s office or drop it off in a drop box for your municipality rather than putting it in the mail.
People who have received absentee ballots can also change their mind and vote in person. If you do this, bring your absentee ballot to your polling place and surrender it to poll workers, who will spoil it. If your ballot was lost or damaged or you simply forgot it, tell poll workers you received one. They will check with the clerk’s office, have you sign an affidavit and spoil the absentee ballot.
Most jurisdictions have only one item on the ballot this time around, but it’s always a good idea to check both sides to ensure you haven’t missed anything. To research the measures before you vote, check your sample ballot at state’s online Voter Information Center.