Make your voices heard, request or cast your ballot today

By Jennifer Gomori, MAP Editor, with excerpts from news media

With Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Emergency Powers revoked by a Michigan Supreme Court ruling Oct. 2, the state’s health department has issued an emergency order with mask mandates, social distancing and group gathering limits.

The state’s highest court ruled 4-3 that the 1945 Emergency Powers of the Governor Act is unconstitutional. Whitmer based her authority to declare states of emergency in response to COVID-19 on the 1945 Act, without the approval of state lawmakers. The court also ruled the 1976 Emergency Management Act did not give Whitmer the power to issue or renew executive orders related to the pandemic after April 30.

While Whitmer and legislators wait for clarification regarding when her emergency powers end and what happens next, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) issued emergency orders Oct. 5 and Oct. 9. The orders require masks be worn at indoor and outdoor gatherings of people from different households, in public spaces and childcare facilities. They limit gathering sizes and place capacity limits on stores, bars and other public venues and provide safety protocols for workplaces, schools and sports. These orders are in effect through Oct. 30, according to MDHHS officials. Violators face a misdemeanor of imprisonment up to six months and/or a fine of $200 or a civil fine up to $1,000.

Click here for the Oct. 5, 2020 MDHHS COVID-19 emergency order.
Click here for the Oct. 9, 2020 MDHHS COVID-19 emergency order.
Click here for Karoub Associates memo regarding the Supreme Court ruling aftermath.

EXERCISE YOUR RIGHT TO VOTE NOW OR BY NOV. 3
While legal details are being sorted out, one thing is for certain - voters can make their voices heard loud and clear in the Presidential Election on Nov. 3 or before. Absentee ballots can be requested by any registered voter without providing a reason. Elections workers are asking voters to request absentee ballots now and either put them in the mail as soon as possible or drop them off at their local clerk’s office, many of which have drop boxes.

Michigan residents don’t have to wait to receive those ballots by mail either. Absentee ballots can be cast in person at your local clerk’s office. Some communities are offering extended hours at multiple locations to cast ballots.

With a record number of absentee ballots anticipated, Whitmer signed SB 757 into law Oct. 6, giving clerks in cities and townships with at least 25,000 residents more time to pre-process those ballots. Clerks wishing to open outer envelopes, check ballots for signatures, and sort ballots, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 2, must notify the Secretary of State at least 20 days before Election Day, Nov. 3. Under the law, clerks will notify voters of any reason their vote will not be counted within 48 hours. Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said some 2.7 million absentee ballots had already been requested during the Governor’s press conference Oct. 6.

Voters can track their ballots. If it’s close to election day and the clerk’s office has not received your ballot, call your clerk’s office. To request an absentee ballot, track your ballot, or for more voter information, contact your local clerk’s office or visit https://www.michigan.gov/sos/0,4670,7-127-1633-49313--,00.html