Michigan House Republicans
Rep. Harris: Shoddy election scheduling is the latest in state disregard for local needs
RELEASE|November 28, 2023
Contact: Mike Harris

State Rep. Mike Harris today said the governor’s decision to schedule special legislative elections on problematic dates follows a recent trend by Michigan Democrats ignoring the needs and views of local communities.

After two state representatives were elected mayor of their hometowns this month, the governor scheduled special elections to fill the vacant Metro Detroit seats with a primary on January 30 and a general election on April 16, instead of placing the legislative races on the ballot on normal election dates in February and May. The presidential primary on February 27 will be right between the special election dates, and absentee ballots will be circulating for multiple elections at once, causing confusion for voters and election officials.

Harris, R-Waterford, said the poor scheduling choice will burden the affected communities, who will have to pay the costs of the additional elections with local taxpayers’ dollars while local clerks and election workers manage multiple elections so close together. This spring, Harris voted for House Bill 4033, which would require the state to reimburse local governments for special legislative elections, but the bill has yet to pass the Senate.

“Far too often, politicians in Lansing disregard local viewpoints and undermine community needs,” Harris said. “Scheduling special elections on irregular dates will cost local governments in Metro Detroit, and the chaos of overlapping voting periods will heap burdens on local clerks, the area residents who work the polls, and voters. This careless decision is just one of many state efforts that push costs and consequences onto Michigan communities. Michiganders saw this mentality recently when Democrats in the Legislature voted to let a state board of bureaucrats override local control and put enormous wind and solar farms in communities that aren’t interested. There are many other proposals to erode local decision-making currently floating around in Lansing, but I will keep working to ensure communities in Oakland County and around the state can protect and advance their local priorities.”

Harris voted against legislation earlier this month that will give the Michigan Public Service Commission, a three-member panel of state bureaucrats, authority to approve green energy projects, taking away local communities’ discretion over the placement of wind turbines and solar farms. The bills are currently before the governor, who is expected to sign them.

The governor announced the special elections the day before the long Thanksgiving weekend, giving potential candidates only until Monday to file their paperwork. Harris questioned the rushed process.

“The Democrats lost their House majority, leaving a bipartisan split of 54 Republicans and 54 Democrats,” Harris observed. “The governor is pushing a rushed, chaotic timeline for these special elections onto candidates, voters, and local officials, seemingly for purely partisan reasons.”

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