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Township polling place grant stalled—funds needed



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July 04, 2012 - Brandon Twp.- The nation marked Independence Day this week and many Americans will exercise one of their most cherished freedoms, the right to vote, in next month's primary, as well as in the November election.

Here in the township, Clerk Jeannie McCreery and her staff have much to do for the two elections and she updated the board on preparations during the July 2 board meeting.

"The polling place grant has stalled," McCreery said, referring to an application for federal grant funds from the Help America Vote Act to bring township precincts into ADA compliance.

Precinct 5, at the Sashabaw Meadows Mobile Home Park clubhouse, needs a new ramp as well as a new door in order to be fully accessible by disabled persons. McCreery has received bids for $24,000 and $16,000 from contractors to do the work, but actual costs for the project at the site, which has a very steep grade, may reach closer to $40,000. The township has only been approved for $12,000 in grant money.

"We're looking at changing the precinct location," McCreery said. "If we don't do this, we can expect the federal government to come down on us very harshly."

She noted that she could rewrite the grant application to see if they will give the township more money, but said grant officials have told her they've never given more than $9,500 for a ramp. Precinct 5 has about 1,600 voters, a fairly low number, but still too many to combine in another precinct. She is considering moving the Precinct 5 location to the Clarkston Lakes Mobile Home Park or one of the local churches.

Community Development Block Grant funds (roughly $3,300) are going to be used to replace the doors at the Old Town Hall, precinct 6 polling location, to bring them into ADA compliance. McCreery is scrambling to get the work done before the Aug. 6 deadline (the primary is Aug. 7) and has applied for an extension, which only goes to the day before the Nov. 6 election.

About 550 residents have requested absentee ballots for the primary election and can expect them in the mail this week, McCreery said. Absentee ballots must be returned by 8 p.m., Aug. 7, but she is hoping voters don't wait that long.

Expect to see political signs crop up around the township this week. Candidates may place political signs on private property beginning Sunday. Signs are not permitted in public right-of-ways and are forbidden within 100 feet of any entrance to a polling location. Signs must be removed within a week after the primary.

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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