Timing will limit potential candidates, burden local clerks
State Rep. Jay DeBoyer today criticized Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for her planned process for filling a pair of vacant seats in the Michigan House – outlining several implementation and fairness issues.
DeBoyer, who serves on the House Elections Committee, said last Wednesday’s special election announcement with a 4 p.m. filing deadline set for today essentially gave candidates 12 hours to submit their intention to run. Local clerk’s offices were closed for the holiday weekend – significantly truncating the timeline.
“The rushed and impractical nature of this is an insult to our elections process and people in the communities that are depending on a thorough process for representation in Lansing for the remainder of the current legislative term,” DeBoyer said. “This gives hardly any time for people to decide if they want to run and then to file. It amounts to political protectionism for the few candidates who are going to be involved in the process.”
Similarly, DeBoyer took issue with the announced April 16, 2024 special election being so close to the April 24 candidacy filing for the next legislative term – saying the move will give whoever wins the special election the power of incumbency. Primaries for the special elections are set to take place on Jan. 30, 2024.
DeBoyer also highlighted the financial and administrative burden that will be put on local clerks as they conduct special elections in proximity to the state’s 2024 presidential primary.
“The governor has laid out a daunting and costly task before the local clerks in these areas,” said DeBoyer, who spent 12 years as the St. Clair County clerk before coming to the Legislature. “I find it ironic that the governor says she wants to have individuals in place to work on behalf of the people as quickly as possible when the majority party has adjourned in the Legislature for the foreseeable future and the entire state isn’t being represented in Lansing as we stand now.
“It’s important to want to have people working on behalf of the people in the House as quickly as possible, but it’s irresponsible to cut corners and impose difficult timelines for the officials who will be overseeing the elections and are charged with delivering accurate, timely results.”
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