The Michigan Daily’s 2020 local election guide

Wednesday, October 14, 2020 - 6:42pm

.

Miles Macklin/Daily

The Michigan Daily has put together a 2020 general election guide to help Ann Arbor voters understand what is on their ballot. Look below to see what options you have in local races this November. For our state and federal election guide, click here.

Voting in Washtenaw County and Ballot Drop Boxes 

Early absentee voting in Michigan began on Sept. 24 and will continue through Nov. 2. The deadline to register to vote absentee is Oct. 19 and people can register to vote in person up until Election Day on Nov. 3. 

As of Oct. 12, nearly 50,000 absentee ballots have been issued in the city of Ann Arbor.

All ballots received by 8 p.m. on Election Day will be counted. Washtenaw County residents can return their ballots to drop boxes as an alternative to mailing them in. Drop boxes are located at: 

  • Outside of Larcom City Hall at the north entrance at 301 E. Huron St.

  • Outside of Larcom City Hall by the customer service drop box on Ann Street, just east of Fifth Avenue.

  • Parking lot of Veterans Memorial Park Ice Arena and Pool 2150 Jackson Ave.

  • Outside of the Ann Arbor Fire Station 5 at 1946 Beal Ave. 

  • Outside of Cobblestone Farm/Ann Arbor Parks and Recreation Customer Service Center at 2781 Packard Road 

  • Northwest side of Ann Arbor Fire Station 6 at the Eisenhower entrance at 1881 Briarwood Circle

A satellite clerk’s office at the University of Michigan Museum of Art will remain in place until Election Day where students and community members can register to vote, vote early and return absentee ballots. 

Ballot Proposals 

Washtenaw County Proposal

This proposal will authorize a property tax of one-fourth of a mill, or $0.25 per $1,000 of state assessed property valuation. The revenue generated from this tax will go to the Board of Commissioners to purchase natural land areas in order to preserve them. The tax will cover the purchase, maintenance and preservation costs of these lands. 

The tax would go into effect on Dec. 1, 2021, and remain in effect for 10 years. The proposal would increase a previously approved tax for the same purpose by 0.0159 mill.

Ann Arbor Municipal Proposal A

This proposal would implement a property tax for Ann Arbor residents of $2.125 per $1,000 of assessed property value, to repair local streets, bridges and sidewalks. 

If passed, the proposal would replace the previously levied identical tax that funded street, bridge and sidewalk repair and construction from 2017-2021. Some portion of this revenue may also be used by the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Agency and the Washtenaw County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority.

Ann Arbor Municipal Proposal B

This proposal would authorize a new property tax for Ann Arbor residents of $0.20 per $1,000 of property value to fund the construction of sidewalks from 2021-2026. Some of this revenue could be taken and used by the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Agency and the Washtenaw County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority.

Ann Arbor Municipal Proposal C

This proposal would authorize a property tax for Ann Arbor residents of $1 per $1,000 of property value. The revenue from this tax would be used to construct, maintain and acquire new affordable housing units for low-income residents and families. Low-income individuals are those who make less than 60% of the Ann Arbor-area median income. 

The revenue from this tax would also be used to provide social services to the low-income residents of the housing units from 2021-2041. Some of the money may be taken and used by the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Agency and the Washtenaw County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority. The proposal has been endorsed by the Ecology Center, the Chamber of Commerce, Packard Health and Avalon Housing.

Michigan Proposal 20-1: Use of State and Local Park Funds Amendment

This proposal would amend the Michigan Constitution to allow the state to collect revenue from oil and gas mining taking place on state-owned land and create, protect and maintain parks, nature areas and public recreation facilities with the money. This amendment would let the State Parks Endowment Fund continue receiving money from the sales of oil and gas mined on state property until its balance reaches $800 million. 

Other oil and gas revenue generated from state-owned lands would go to the Natural Resources Trust Fund. The amendment would also change how this state revenue gets spent: 20% of the Endowment Fund’s yearly spending would go toward improving Michigan State Parks, 25% of the Natural Resources fund’s annual expenditures would contribute to parks and public recreation areas and another 25% would be used for land conservation. 

This proposal is supported by several environmental groups including the Michigan Environmental Council, Michigan League of Conservation Voters, Natural Resources Defense Council and Michigan NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Committee, among others. However, the Sierra Club and the Green Party of Michigan do not support this proposal because of its dependence on continued oil and gas drilling for funding. 

Michigan Proposal 20-2: Search Warrant for Electronic Data Amendment 

This proposal would amend the Michigan Constitution to mandate that a search warrant be necessary to gain access to personal electronic records and communications. Searches and seizures of a person’s electronic data would be prohibited without a warrant, and conditions for obtaining one would be the same as those required to search an individual’s house or belongings. Both the Michigan State Police and the American Civil Liberties Union have expressed support for this proposal. 

Ann Arbor Elections

Ann Arbor City Council

The City Council legislative body that is responsible for governing the city consists of the Mayor and 10 council members who each serve four-year terms. Citizens are only eligible to vote for the City Council candidate in the ward in which they reside. Given Ann Arbor’s preference for Democratic candidates, many of the people running in the November election are unopposed after winning the August primaries.

Ward 1

Lisa Disch is the Democratic candidate for Ward 1. She has prioritized a commitment to Ann Arbor’s sustainability and carbon neutrality goals, as well as affordable housing in her campaign. She is being challenged by Eric Sturgis, who is a write-in candidate.

Ward 2

Linh Song is running as the Democratic candidate for Ward 2. Song supports the improvement of Ann Arbor’s city services and ensuring that all residents have equal access to them.

Ward 3

Travis Radina is the Democratic candidate in Ward 3. He has campaigned on creating affordable housing and promoting diversity and inclusion in the city.

Ward 4

Jen Eyer is Ward 4’s Democratic candidate. Her platform promises to support equity in water and sewage treatment improvements across Ann Arbor and to stop flooding and power outages in her ward.

Ward 5

Erica Briggs is running as the Democratic candidate for Ward 5. She supports responsible housing and transportation growth as well as Ann Arbor’s carbon neutrality goals. 

Ann Arbor District Library Board of Trustees

There are five people running under no party for four positions on the Ann Arbor District Library Board of Trustees. Molly Kleinman, Onna Solomon, Scott Trudeau and Jamie Vander Broek are running together as a slate of candidates.

Rich Foley

Foley has run the academic and public library division of Gale Library Reference. He wants to use his business perspective to face the library’s challenges, which include resource needs and navigating the budgeting process.

Molly Kleinman 

Kleinman has an American Library Association-accredited degree in Information Science, as well as a doctorate in Higher Education Policy. She has worked as an academic librarian at the University of Michigan for three years. 

Onna Solomon 

Solomon is a social worker who wants to continue the library’s emphasis on inclusion, community and innovation, saying she appreciates the library’s exceptional services as a small business owner, mother, writer and community arts organizer.

Scott Trudeau 

Trudeau has worked as a digital technologist for publishers and non-profit organizations. He has also served on the Ann Arbor City Planning and Transportation Commissions. His platform aims to continue the library’s work and support innovation.

Jamie Vander Broek 

Broek has served on the Ann Arbor District Library Board since 2015 and acted as president for two years, and currently works as a librarian for the University of Michigan. Her platform promises to provide resources and materials digitally and promote community engagement online during the pandemic.

Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education

There are nine candidates for three trustee positions on the Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education. The Board consists of seven members, each serving a four-year term. 

Krystle R. Dupree 

Dupree received a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Eastern Michigan University followed by a master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Michigan, and she currently works as a Youth and Program coordinator for Avalon Housing. Dupree’s platform calls for a student advisory committee to be present at board meetings and aims to address the resegregation of schools and unequal access to qualified teachers and high-quality curriculum, focusing on consistency in education across the district. 

Jeff Gaynor 

Gaynor was a teacher for 38 years, 32 of them in the Ann Arbor Public Schools, teaching grades 1-8 as well as occasionally acting as a high school substitute teacher. He says this experience and his first term on the Board have given him an understanding of the issues facing the district and that he is committed to making decisions that reflect equality and social justice. 

Jamila James 

James is a nurse who has been a parent in the Ann Arbor School District for 16 years. James’s platform prioritizes preparing students for the world and giving teachers more autonomy over their lessons while providing students with more control of their education.

Maggi Richards Kennel 

Kennel, a clinical research coordinator, attended Ann Arbor Public Schools, has three children in the Ann Arbor Public Schools system and has served as president of the Parent Teacher Organization. Kennel’s platform says she will work to provide equitable education, proactively plan support services to meet the needs of students, align school green initiatives with the city’s A2Zero plan and lead responsibly by maintaining transparency during the review and implementation of the Board’s budget.

Ernesto Querijero

Querijero graduated from the University of Michigan with a bachelor’s degree in English, then from the University of Pennsylvania with a master’s degree in Education. He has 15 years of teaching experience in Advanced Placement and regular English classes at Tecumseh High School. Querijero says he can provide insight into learning in a virtual environment and wants to implement policies to advance long-term fairness, inclusion and representation. His platform says he will strengthen student support services and community outreach programs. 

Angie Smith 

Smith is an educator who has worked at all levels of schooling and been a parent in the Ann Arbor Public Schools system for 17 years. She has served on and chaired multiple local councils and organizations, including the Washtenaw County Food Policy Council and a high school parent-teacher organization. She says she wants to redefine measurements of achievement to enable success for all students and prioritize safety in physical and mental health, water, infrastructure and climate. 

John Spisak 

Spisak is a parent in the Ann Arbor Public Schools system, as well as an educator and administrator at Centria Autism. His goals for the Board include building an equitable educational system that can withstand future challenges. 

Daily Staff Reporters Hannah Mackay and Sarah Payne can be reached at mackayh@umich.edu and paynesm@umich.edu


The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown challenges at all of us — including The Michigan Daily — but that hasn’t stopped our staff. We’re committed to reporting on the issues that matter most to the community where we live, learn and work. Your donations keep our journalism free and independent. You can support our work here.

For a weekly roundup of the best stories from The Michigan Daily, sign up for our newsletter here.