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County clerks say they need money for COVID-19 supplies for upcoming elections

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

County clerks say they need help providing the personal protective equipment and sanitizers to poll workers for the August and November elections.

In order to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus, election officials are hoping to convince more Michiganders to vote absentee.Clerks started mailing absentee ballots to voters this week for the August 4 primary election.

However, Saginaw County Clerk Mike Hanley expects some people will still want to vote in person on election day.

“We want to give them that assurance that if they do go to the polls...if they chose to go to the polls to vote...it will be a safe experience,” says Hanley.

Michigan’s Secretary of State office estimates the state will need $40 million to fully cover all potential costs of all COVID impacts on the August and November elections. The CARES Act provided the state of Michigan $11.2 million.  

State officials are in the process of prioritizing how best to utilize those funds to support election workers and voters. The Secretary of State’s office estimates $2.2 million will be spent on PPE.

Nationally, the Brennan Center for Justice estimates it will cost at least $2 billion to ensure a free and fair election this fall.

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Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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