The Michigan Secretary of State’s Office is recommending that municipalities use applications to vote that don’t contain the U.S. citizenship question for the Nov. 6 election. The state is encouraging clerks to use older versions of the small forms — on which voters fill out their name, address and date of birth — without the question or obtain an adequate number of new forms without it, according to a Wednesday bulletin sent to clerks. Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Paul Borman in Detroit granted a permanent injunction ordering Secretary of State Ruth Johnson to keep the question off the forms. But ordering new forms could cost clerks. New forms cost about $600 in Rochester Hills, City Clerk Jane Leslie said. She said her office personnel and election aides started to obscure the question on the forms but said new forms were ordered to avoid any problems. She said the question was blackened out on all applications for absentee ballots. “It’s much simpler to replace those forms,” she said. “We want to make it as simple as possible and limit disputes.”
When asked whether the Secretary of State would reimburse clerks, Gisgie Gendreau, spokeswoman for Johnson, said, “We typically don’t pay for materials; the clerks pay for materials in elections.” Gendreau said printers can provide the forms in time for the election. Lauri Braid, president of the Michigan Association of County Clerks, said, “It’s certainly gonna be an expense to reorder.” Braid, who is the Shiawassee County clerk, said the stock of forms in her county still contains the question. She said she doubted the county would order new forms. “Just black it out,” she said.