FLINT TWP. — With the election year gearing up, Genesee County Clerk John Gleason visited the township board last week to notify them about changes in the rules for electing precinct delegates.
“I am here to announce that the State of Michigan has altered the policy for precinct delegates,’ Gleason said.
“In the past, you always came to the municipality (township hall) to sign up to be a precinct delegate (but) now with the alteration in the state policy they have to enroll at the county,” he said.
Gleason said he disagrees with the change because it creates a hardship for potential delegates to have to leave their community and travel downtown to the clerk’s office to sign up.
A precinct delegate is an elected position, serving their political party’s county convention and as a grassroots level activists on behalf of the party.
Candidates’ names will appear on the ballot in the partisan section of their precinct.
Gleason also said other changes may be coming next month in the number of delegates per precinct and the sign-up deadline.
For example, if there are nine Democrats and 6 Republicans openings in a precinct, then the top nine Democratic vote getters and the top six Republicans, would become precinct delegates. In the past, any candidate who received three votes became a precinct delegates.
“It is a little more competitive this year and will be substantially more inconvenient,’’ Gleason said.
Gleason said his office is trying to accommodate the new county signup rule by hosting mass registration sessions. One has been held with the Genesee County Democratic Party and others arranged with the Republic Party and with a local labor union that aims to get about 100 people to attend to make it worthwhile.
The filling deadline is 4 p.m. on May 6 at the county clerk’ office, in order to be listed on the Aug. 5 primary ballot. There are also some complicated writein rules that Gleason said his office would prefer to avoid.
He asked the township to help get the word about the changes and is encourages candidates for precinct delegates to sign up early.
Also partisan candidates for office have a new deadline — April 22 — instead of mid-May, as it was in the past, Gleason said.