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ACLU watches Pontiac election

The Michigan ACLU is expressing concerns about how well the city of Pontiac is prepared to handle Tuesday’s election.

Recently, Pontiac’s emergency manager, Lou Schimmel, fired three top Pontiac officials, including the city clerk. He appointed a new clerk last week.

That concerns the ACLU, which wonders if the new clerk has had enough time to effectively organize the election. The group sent Schimmel a letter expressing its concerns late last week.

“When a city’s chief elections administrator is dismissed 11 days before an election, someone needs to ask, who’s running the election?” asks ACLU Michigan deputy director Mary Bejian.

The Oakland county clerk has offered assistance, but Bejian says that makes it even more unclear who’s running things.

It’s not clear what kind of problems could occur, the Bejian says any Pontiac voters who encounter problems should contact the Michigan ACLU.

Schimmel has dismissed the ACLU’s concerns, and expressed confidence in his new clerk.

Pontiac’s ballot will include a special primary election to replace outgoing state representative Tim Melton.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.