Election News!


You have probably heard by now (about a hundred times) that there will be a Presidential Primary Election on March 8, 2016. There will be 13 Republican Candidates, and four Democratic Candidates, all of whom wish to be our next president.

As in any primary election, you can only vote for one party. However, where you would normally vote in one section on the ballot, this time you will only get the ballot of your choice. There will be one ballot for Republican candidates, with the 13 names on it, and one ballot for Democrat, with the four names on it.

To make it more confusing, we also have a ballot issue for Pontiac School District voters. So, if you live in the Pontiac School District, you can choose a Republican ballot, or a Democrat ballot, or just a school district ballot. The Republican and Democrat ballots will have the school issue on it for those who choose for vote in the Presidential Primary also.

One important issue is that the parties themselves will know who voted in their primary. That means the Republican and Democrat parties will know which primary ballot you chose. Although we, as Clerks, fought against the release of that information, the parties took the State Election department to court some years ago for the right to get the lists of voters. They won. Of course they will not know WHO you voted for; just which party you chose. Choosing one party or the other does not “sign you up” for that party, nor does it mean anything other than you chose to vote that party this time.

The candidates who win this election will not automatically be the candidate for the Presidency. Many states will have primaries, but in the end the parties themselves have Precinct Delegates who nominate their candidates at a convention. It is assumed the popular candidates, who win the primaries, will be the party candidate for President, but that is not always true.

Whether you vote in person or by absentee, you will need to choose which ballot you wish to use. If you have any questions or want more clarification, please call my office at 248-370-9402 during business hours. We will be happy to help you.

In the meantime, if you work outside the City, or if you are over 60, or will be gone from the City on March 8, feel free to call us at 248-370-9402 or email me at tkowal@auburnhills.org and we can send you an application for an absentee ballot.

PS – If you are interested in working for the City on Election Day, please call or email me!

Terri Kowal, City Clerk


Election News!

Calling All Auburn Hills Voters!

People voting in polling place

Next Tuesday, November 3, is Election Day in the City. On the ballot will be City Council and Library Board candidates, and for Rochester School voters there is also a millage question.

Generally the voter turnout for a City election is low. That has always amazed me for one simple reason – what City Council decides will impact the residents quicker than what Congress or even the President does. For example; national healthcare has been on the front burner for years, but City Council’s 2015 votes to repave Taylor Road or hire more firefighters are already in progress.

City Council has the authority to impact the quality of daily life in our City. Think about all the benefits of living in Auburn Hills. Good roads, great parks, fantastic recreation programs, extraordinary senior citizen services, and wonderful police and fire services are just a few that are overseen, approved and budgeted by City Council.

In Auburn Hills, City Council members are involved in almost every aspect of day to day living.

Wouldn’t you like the opportunity to choose them?

The polls are open 7 am to 8 pm on Tuesday. If you are unsure where you vote, please call my office at 248-370-9402 during business hours, or check online at https://webapps.sos.state.mi.us/MVIC/   My office will be open 10 am to 2 pm on Saturday, October 31 to issue absentee applications.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call at 248-370-9402.

Terri Kowal, City Clerk

Calling All Auburn Hills Voters!

Special Election on August 4

elections_ahead_sky_0On Tuesday, August 4 there will be an election only for those residing in the Pontiac School District (PSD). All of the municipalities in the district will be voting on this millage question that day. In Auburn Hills, we have about 7,300 voters who reside in the PSD, all within 5 precincts.

As always, you can get an absentee ballot if you think you may be out of the City that day. Even if you work outside the City and think there is a slight chance you may not be back to Auburn Hills by 8 pm, you are welcome to vote absentee. If you are over 65, you can vote absentee just because you don’t want to go to the polls! If voting absentee, you must be certain to get your voted ballot to us by 8 pm Tuesday, August 4. Prior to August 4, you can mail the ballot, or drop it in one of our two drop boxes, or bring it in yourself.

Our PSD voters reside in precincts 1, 4, 6, 8, and 9. If you are unsure whether you are in the PSD, please feel free to call us at 248-370-9402.

We have sample ballots here in the Clerk’s office, and you can also apply for an absentee here in person.

Please remember to vote. This is a 5 year millage question, for a sinking fund designated to fix school buildings. I’ve always believed the old classic Clerk’s line about voting – “if you don’t vote, don’t complain”. Whether you are for the millage or against it, your only voice is your vote. Please “speak up” on August 4. The polls will be open from 7 am to 8 pm.

Terri Kowal, City Clerk

Special Election on August 4

Notes from the Clerk

You may have heard by now there will be a special election on May 5, 2015. The Governor and the State Legislature are asking for the state sales tax to be raised one cent for roads and other special projects. You can find out more about the issue on the state’s website: www.michigan.govbilde

There may also be some school proposals on the ballot, but we haven’t received official notice of that yet. We will be sure to let you know well in advance of the election what offices or proposals will be on the ballot.

We are always recruiting new election workers, to help fill in for the “snowbirds”. Being an election worker is fun, fulfilling and pays well, too! If you are interested, please call my office at 248-370-9402 and ask for Lindsay. She can answer any questions you may have about being an inspector.

If you know you will be out of town on May 5, or if it is difficult to get to the polls, you can ask for an absentee ballot application to be sent to you. Just call or email us at tkowal@auburnhills.org

More information on the special election will be posted as soon as we get it.

Terri Kowal, City Clerk

Notes from the Clerk

Why should you vote?

Tuesday, November 4th is Election Day for all of Michigan. We will choose a governor, attorney general, secretary of state, senator, congressional members, state representatives, judges, school boards, among others, and will vote on proposals for hunting, schools, and more. Here in Auburn Hills the voters will be deciding if residents can continue to burn leaves and yard waste.


The persons who win the election will have control over your taxes, the laws, and your children’s schools. If you don’t vote, you are letting others make those choices for you. Wouldn’t you like to be a part of that decision?

The polls are open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. If you are unsure what polling location you vote at, you can look on our website at www.auburnhills.org and click on the link to check your ballot, or call us at 248-370-9402.

See you at the polls!

Terri Kowal, City Clerk

Why should you vote?

Sometimes, it’s not over until the ballots are counted – again!

The last blog I posted talked about what happens after the election, like closing the polls and processing the paperwork. It didn’t end there! At the end of all results being canvassed and certified as accurate by the County, the difference in the number of votes cast for two candidates for the Republican office of the 29th State Representative was SIX! Therefore, a recount took place.

Let me back up a bit and tell you what every Clerk will agree upon – we quake in terror at the thought of a recount. It’s not because we don’t have confidence in our results – we do. It’s not because we don’t trust our workers – we do. In fact, we have audits performed on our election results as a routine practice enacted by the state, which we have passed with flying colors. It is this – once in a while, a precinct may scratch out the seal number on the ballot bag, or not place the seal on correctly, or not put a note in the poll book with an explanation of an unusable ballot. Any of those things can make a precinct not able to be recounted, which angers the candidates, and makes a Clerk feel really bad.


In a recount, an entire table of people with very high stakes in the results pay close attention to every detail of the ballot bag, poll book, and ballots. We, the Clerks involved in the election, must be present. Both candidates are there, along with their families and supporters, and both really, really want to win. Needless to say, the tensions are high and great care is taken with the recounts.

Here is how it went. The Clerks of Pontiac, Sylvan Lake, Orchard Lake and Auburn Hills were required to bring the ballots to the County the Friday before the recount, so that the County had them in hand. Then on the morning of the recount, we went to the designated room and had a seat in the corner, against the wall, so that we were available for questions. From that vantage point, we were able to watch all the action without being able to touch anything. Each ballot container and all paperwork was reviewed by a member of the Oakland County Board of Canvassers, who would then announce to the room at large, “Auburn Hills Precinct 1 is qualified for recount”. As I said before, I was very confident but that doesn’t mean my heart didn’t pound and my palms sweat each of the nine times they started with “Auburn Hills Precinct…..”.

All nine of our precincts were recountable. It didn’t work that way for every municipality, so I was very proud of our Election Chairs, workers and staff. In the end, the trusted machines we use for elections proved themselves once again. The total changed by one vote, so the total was a difference of seven rather than six votes. And the ballot that switched was due to human error, not the machines.

Yes, I have total confidence in our elections. And in myself, having administered about 34 or 35 elections. Like all Clerks, though, I am crossing my fingers that whoever wins any of the seats in November wins by a sufficient enough margin that we don’t have a recount again! So get out and vote, or call us for an absentee ballot at 248-370-9402!

Terri Kowal, City Clerk

Sometimes, it’s not over until the ballots are counted – again!

After the Election…

8:00 P.M. on Primary Election Day is not the end of the day for the Clerk’s office staff. Each precinct and absentee counting board brings their results to our office for review, verification, and preparation for sending them to Oakland County. We establish Receiving Boards, who are trained to check the sealed results to make sure the number on the tape printed by the machine that counts the votes, the number of voter applications, and the numbers of voters recorded on the electronic poll book are all identical. This double check of the number of ballots cast ensures that no vote is left uncounted, and the opposite – that no extra ballots could be “stuffed” into the ballot container.


After all the reviewing is completed, another team, called the Resealing Team, takes apart the three sets of reports created at the precinct, and separates them into envelopes for the County Clerk, the County Board and Canvassers, and me. That way there are reports in three separate departments, so in the event of a fire or other disaster we still have the results available. A Certifying Team is used only in State Primary Elections to certify the results of the Precinct Delegate races.

From our office at the end of the night, two sets of envelopes are delivered to Oakland County. Within a few days after that, the Board of Canvassers goes over each precinct with a magnifying glass and fine-toothed comb, making certain all the numbers are correct. The election results are considered “unofficial” until the canvass is completed, usually within a few weeks.


With all these checks and balances in place, it is safe to assume the results from Auburn Hills for the State Primary Election are accurate.

The City is very proud of our election staff and the integrity of the results. We send a huge thank you to all the Chairs, Inspectors, office staff, Receiving Board, Resealing Board and Certification Boards who make our elections successful. We couldn’t do it without you.

And thanks for voting, if you were one of the 15% who did. If not, see you on November 4th!

Terri Kowal, MMC, City Clerk

After the Election…