22/02/2024

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Michigan Elections 2023: What you need to know

Michigan Elections 2023: What you need to know

While not as high-profile as next year’s elections — including the bid for the White House and who will succeed the retiring Sen. Debbie Stabenow — Michigan’s 2023 general election on Nov. 7 features several key races and issues that will affect metro Detroiters.

There will be 73 counties holding elections in Michigan. Learn more about some of the names and proposals southeast Michigan residents will see on their ballots when they head to the polls on Tuesday.

This is not an exhaustive list. Sample ballots can be viewed at the Michigan Voter Information Center website. Click here for a complete list of Michigan counties and cities holding elections on Nov. 7. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET.

Election results can be found here.

Warren will elect a new mayor

Residents in Warren will elect a new mayor after the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled Jim Fouts is not eligible to run for a fifth term. Fouts has served as Warren’s mayor since winning his first election 2007.

Lori Stone, George Dimas
Warren mayoral candidates Lori Stone and George Dimas.

Instead, State Rep. Lori Stone faces George Dimas, the current human resources director for the city of Warren, in the mayoral race.

Stone, a lifelong Warren resident, is currently serving her third term as a Democrat in the Michigan House after winning the 28th District seat in 2018. Dimas — also a lifelong Warren resident — served 32 years on city council, 14 as the council president.

Stone lists the UAW, Moms Demand Action, Official Democratic Black Caucus of Macomb County and the Sierra Club as some of the organizations that have officially endorsed her candidacy. Dimas touts the endorsements of Warren Fire Commissioner Wilburt McAdams, Warren Police Commissioner William Dwyer, Warren first responder unions, and current mayor of Warren, Jim Fouts.

Eastpointe will elect a new mayor after Monique Owens unseated in primary

The city of Eastpointe will look to move on from embattled Mayor Monique Owens after she failed to advance to November’s general election. Owens, who became the city’s first Black mayor, came in third during August’s primary. She pleaded no contest last month over charges that she fraudulently applied for a COVID-19 grant in 2020.

Instead, former City Councilman Michael Klinefelt will face Eastpointe school board member Mary Hall-Rayford. This is Klinefelt’s second mayoral bid after losing to Owens four years ago.

Hamtramck voters will decide city council seats, school millage renewal

Hamtramck has three city council seats up for grabs on Tuesday. Incumbents Mohammed Alsomiri, Nayeem Choudhury and Mohammed Hassan are joined by Lynn Blasey, Nasr Saleh Hussain and Muhtasin Rahman Sadman.

Choudhury came out on top during the Aug. 8 primary with 16.22% of the votes.

Dickinson East Elementary
Dickinson East Elementary in Hamtramck, Mich.

The Hamtramck school board will once again ask voters to renew a school millage after it was rejected nearly 2-1 during the primary election last summer. The proposed 3 mills over the next decade is less than the current 4 mills voters approved in 2014. If passed, the school district could raise up to $760,000 next year to make building improvements or repairs.

There are three Hamtramck charter amendment proposals on Tuesday’s ballot:

  • Proposal 1, if passed, would remove the requirement that city councilmembers seeking to run for mayor, or a mayor seeking to run for city council, must resign from their current position a minimum of 60 days prior to the candidacy filing deadline — unless their term is expiring.
  • Proposal 2, if passed, would raise the annual salary for the positions of the mayor, mayor pro tem and city councilmembers.
  • Proposal 3, if passed, would remove the charter section that currently states a mayor or city councilmember would have to wait two years after their current term ends before they’re eligible to become city manager or acting city manager.

Ferndale will vote for a new mayor, two city council seats

The city of Ferndale will also elect a new mayor on Nov. 7 as Mayor Melanie Piana announced earlier this year she would not seek reelection.

Two candidates are running for the position — Ferndale City Councilmember Raylon Leaks-May and political newcomer Sean Hurley.

Leaks-May has lived in Ferndale for over 30 years and has been serving on its city council since 2015. She is relying on her political experience to convince voters to elect her as Ferndale’s next mayor. Hurley says he’ll use his corporate business marketing experience to improve Ferndale’s infrastructure using data and technology advances. The MSU graduate claims the city needs “a new generation of leadership.”

Two city council seats will be decided in the November election, including the one Leaks-May currently holds. Three candidates are running for the council positions: Donnie Johnson, Rolanda Kelley and Dennis Whittie.

Royal Oak will vote on ranked choice voting, mayoral race, millage renewal

Royal Oak voters will decide if they want their mayor and city commissioners to be elected by ranked choice voting — a system where voters select multiple candidates and rank them by preference. Proposal B made the city’s ballot after the nonprofit Rank MI Vote submitted over 2,800 resident signatures.

In a ranked choice voting system, voters would select multiple candidates in order of preference. The candidate with over 50% of first preference votes would be declared the winner. If no candidate secures the minimum majority, the candidate with the least amount of first-choice votes will be eliminated and their voters’ second-choice votes will be distributed to the candidates they chose. This process, also referred to as an instant runoff, repeats until an overall winner is determined.

A sign promoting ranked choice voting in Royal Oak, Mich.
A lawn sign promoting ranked choice voting in Royal Oak, Mich. on Nov. 6, 2023.

East Lansing and Kalamazoo voters will also see ranked choice voting proposals on their ballots on Tuesday. Ann Arbor, Eastpointe and Ferndale are currently the only Michigan cities that have approved the implementation of RCV for local elections.

Current Royal Oak mayor Michael Fournier is running for reelection in the general election. Fournier has served as Royal Oak’s mayor since 2016 and was first elected as a city commissioner in 2011. He faces challenger Trish Oliver, a 37-year resident of Royal Oak. According to her campaign website, Oliver has been a Royal Oak Historical Society board member and newsletter editor for two decades.

Proposal A, if approved, would renew a road millage that would not exceed 2.5 mills a year. It would start December 2024 and last for 10 years.

WDET reporter Laura Herberg contributed to this story.

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