Niles City Clerk offers voting advice
NILES — As Election Day approaches, Niles City Clerk Linda Casperson has been busy preparing for the day. Casperson described her office as being “swamped.”
“We have issued over 2,300 absent voter, or ‘early voter’ ballots,” Casperson said.
As of Wednesday afternoon, 69 percent of those ballots had been returned to the clerk’s office.
With Niles City Hall, located at 333 N. Second St., closed due to COVID-19 precautions, early and absentee voting has taken on a different procedure this year. The clerk’s office has been assisting voters wanting to submit ballots early. Voters are encouraged to call ahead to the office to reserve a time so that the employees can have voter’s paperwork ready. Providing curbside service to voters has been city hall’s answer to keeping the process moving, while keeping it socially distanced for COVID-19.
“If the voter comes without an appointment, they need to call us when they arrive and wait for us to process the paperwork,” Casperson said. “The voter can vote the ballot in their car or take it home, and then drop the ballot off at the secured ballot drop box just beyond the drive-thru window at City Hall.”
The black drop box is marked with white letters, denoting “official election mail.”
On Saturday, the Niles city clerk’s office will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The extra day is to allow for both voting registration and voting absentee.
Casperson said it is best to call ahead to schedule a time for Saturday’s voting hours, to cut down time on processing paperwork day of.
She also reminded residents they can register to vote through Tuesday, Election Day.
Documents needed to register to vote are a government-issued identification, such as a driver’s license, a current utility bill, paycheck or another government document to prove their place of residence.
A form of photo identification is required to vote, which may be a driver’s license or state identification card, a federal identification card, a current U.S. passport, military identification card with photo or a student identification card with photo from an accredited educational institution. Without a photo identification, voters will be asked to sign an affidavit of their identification.
According to the Berrien County website, Michigan prohibits displaying election-related material at the polls within 100 feet of the polling location. This is defined as clothing, buttons, pamphlets, flyers and stickers.
On Election Day, the polls in Michigan open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.
City of Niles
Precincts 1 and 2: St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 1340 Sycamore St., Niles
Precinct 3: Niles Fire Station, 1345 E. Main St., Niles
Precinct 4: F.O.P. Lodge, 351 N. State St.
Precinct 1: Fairland Church, 1811 River Bluff Road, Niles
Precinct 2: Police Complex, 1600 Silverbrook Ave., Niles
Precinct 3: Niles Charter Township, Department of Public Works, 322 Bell Road, Niles
Precinct 4: Community Evangelical Free Church, 120 E. Bertrand Road, Niles
Precinct 5: Bend of the River Conservation, 900 Mayflower Road, Niles
Precinct 1: Township Hall, 3835 Buffalo Rd., Buchanan
Precinct 1: Howard Township Hall, 1345 Barron Lake Road, Niles
Precinct 2: Howard Township Fire Department, 2681 Detroit Road, Niles
City of Buchanan
Precinct 1: City Hall, 302 N. Redbud Trail, Buchanan
Precinct 2: Redbud City Center, 131 S. Oak St., Buchanan
Precinct 1: Township Hall, 15235 Main St., Buchanan
Milton Township Hall, 32097 Bertrand St., Niles