Trenton City Clerk: 'Any Voter Can Vote Absentee'

Trenton City Clerk Trish Gearhart offers rules and regulations pertaining to absentee voting.

In an effort to dispel any rumors or misunderstandings about absentee voting, Trenton City Clerk Trish Gearhart spoke with editor Nate Stemen to get the proper information to voters.

"Any voter can vote absentee," Gearhart said. "You do have to check a reason to vote absentee."

Gearhart added people who expect to be absent on election day can vote absentee.

"It's certainly not illegal to vote absentee," Gearhart said. "Anyone who is unsure if they will be in Trenton on election day can vote absentee."

In the 2008 election, about 35 percent, or 4,000, of the 11,131 Trenton residents who voted -- voted absentee. The year's election saw a 76 percent voter turnout in Trenton.

More than half, or 1500, of the 3,100 residents who voted in the primary voted absentee

Voting regulations can be found on the Michigan Secretary of State website.

The rules for voting absentee are as follows, according to the Michigan Votes Voter Information Center.

Absentee ballots are available for all elections. You may vote by absentee ballot if you:

  1. Are unable to attend the polls without assistance
  2. Are age 60 or older
  3. Expect to be absent from your city or township for the entire time the polls are open on election day
  4. Are in jail awaiting arraignment or trial
  5. Have been assigned to work as a precinct inspector in a precinct other than where you are registered
  6. Are unable to attend the polls because of religious beliefs

Gearhart said voters should pay close attention to the third reason for voting absentee. People whose jobs or schools require them to be out of the City of Trenton the entire time the polls are open can vote absentee, she said.

Gearhart said college students who are first-time voters and registered to vote by mail, might not be allowed to vote absentee due to voting regulations.

First time voting regulations are also available at the voter information center.

If you have never voted in Michigan and register by mail, you must appear in person to vote in the first election in which you participate. This requirement does not apply if:

  1. You personally hand deliver the mail-in registration form to the county, city or township clerk's office instead of mailing the form
  2. You are age 60 or older
  3. You are disabled
  4. You are eligible to vote under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act

Gearhart said she anticipates about 5,000 Trenton residents will vote absentee in the November election.

Call Trenton City Clerk Trish Gearhart for more information 734-675-8600.

Les October 07, 2012 at 12:20 PM
Makes you wonder why she is encouraging people, who do not fit the six reasons to vote absentee, to vote absentee when as city clerk she knows it is a misdeamenor offense to lie on the absentee voters application? I wonder what the political ramifications are for her and her job? Maybe we ought to be looking for a new City Clerk!
Leah Derby October 07, 2012 at 11:07 PM
she's not my city clerk LOLOLOL but it still kinda bothers me! i've worked several elections in my own city and i trust that our elections have been run ethically.
W Avery October 08, 2012 at 05:47 PM
I have been a Chairperson of one of Trenton's voting precincts for over ten years and as such, I have worked closely with both Trish and her predicessor, Kyle. I have found both of these individuals to be above reproach. I have never known the Clerk to propose that anyone violate the law. I have urged voters to "vote Absentee" if they qualify under the law. I believe that these attacks on the honesty of the Election Workers, including the Clerk, is an attack on each and every one of us. I don't know which Trenton Precinct these critics vote in, but I can assure them that they will be treated with respect and integrity in every way by every one of us! If the object of these charges is to surpress the vote, it should be noted that both Political Parties have sent direct mailings with applications to vote absentee. The Law provides that if a Citizen believes that he/she will be unable to vote in person because they expect to be out of town on Election Day are legally qualified to seek an absentee ballot. Since this has to be predicted well in advance of the actual Election Day, it is not unreasonable that those expectations change. I would suggest,.however, that if any Citizen has knowledge of any violation of the Law, the appropriate place to seek redress is in the legal system rather than social media. I might also point out that charges without proof is slander and deformation of character, both of which are illegal!
Leah Derby October 08, 2012 at 09:12 PM
absolutely! if you believe there is a strong possibility that you will be out of town on election day the law says you may register to vote absentee. the problem is that your city clerk was quoted as saying, "It's going to take voters a long time to vote this ballot and, if you have the day off go to the polling place, but if you have to work, have appointments or any other commitments, you should vote absentee." i have to volunteer in my kids classroom in Woodhaven at 11am so I should vote absentee? really???
Les October 13, 2012 at 03:26 PM
When will the Trenton City Clerk, Trish Gearhart, ever admit that she told the people to vote absentee ---even if they had to work and were in the city, county, or anywhere that day? It is time for her to come clean on the issue and admit that there are only six reasons to vote absentee. Is she also willing to admit that it is a misdemenor to vote absentee for any other reason?


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