How will Proposal 3 affect Tuesday’s election?

Ottawa County

OLIVE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — People in many West Michigan communities will head to polls Tuesday to vote on issues like school bond proposals and road millages.

While it isn’t considered a major election, it will be the first with new voting rules after Michigan voters overwhelmingly passed Proposal 3 in November.

“(Proposal 3) is probably the most significant change to election law that we’ve seen in a really long time,” said Ottawa County Clerk Justin Roebuck. “Particularly, several changes occurring at one time.”

There are four key changes:

  • No-reason absentee voting, meaning anyone can vote by mail.
  • Same-day registration, previously voters had to register to vote 30 days before an election.
  • Straight-ticket voting, which allows people to vote once by the party.
  • Automatic voter registration, which will happen at Secretary of State offices when people get or update their driver’s licenses.

“That’s a pretty significant change in terms of the ease of access for voters to the polls,” Roebuck said of Proposal 3.

In Ottawa County, the clerk’s office has tested its equipment and is ready for what should be a smaller election. One of the bigger issue being considered is a bond proposal for West Ottawa Public Schools.

Roebuck said it will be a good test run of the new voting rules for clerk’s offices in the state. He expects the rules to lead to more ballots turned in, especially during bigger elections.

“Ultimately, I think the impact is going to be that voters have more options,” Roebuck said. “There’s more accessibility to voters now and I think it will ultimately increase voter turnout.”

A couple of other reminders before heading to the polls:

  • If voters are registering on election day, they must go to the local clerk’s office.
  • If a voter moved less than 60 days ago, they are still allowed to vote in their old precinct one last time.

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