SALEM TOWNSHIP, Mich. (NewsNation Now) — A Michigan township mailed out the wrong election date in their tax bill. It showed Nov. 10 vs. the actual date of the election: Nov. 3.
Salem Township, which is located south of Grand Rapids, told NewsNation affiliate WOOD-TV that they’re grateful the mistake was caught with weeks to go before the contest, but wish it would have been caught sooner.
“It was a typo on our part. That’s really all it is,” Salem Township Clerk Betty Brower said. “I’m surprised that somebody actually read it.”
Kathryn Kramer did read the letter mailed to taxpaying residents of Salem Township. She spotted the mistake.
“I received my tax bill last week showing my taxes were paid and inside the letter, they always give a little newsletter on what’s going on, and so, like a good citizen you read through it to see if there’s anything you need to… look at,” Kramer said. “When I turned it over to the page two what I saw was kind of interesting.”
The letter read, in part, “Salem Township will be welcoming in person voters at our open polls for the upcoming Primary on August 4, 2020 and the Presidential on November 10, 2020.”
“I decided to then call Allegan County and I said, ‘What day are we voting?’ And they said Nov. 3, and I said, ‘Well, that’s what I thought,’” Kramer said. “I can’t believe that they (Salem Township leaders) say that nobody reads it, you know?”
The township said its Summer Newsletter was sent in July; however, Kramer’s letter was postmarked Sept. 15, just last week.
Allegan County officials contacted Brower and other township leadership, instructing them to issue a correction.
“We have since put it on our website and we are also going to put it on our electronic sign outside,” Brower said. “We’re sorry it happened. Wish we would’ve found it before but … that’s the way it is.”
The township website has a notice on the site’s bulletin board that reads, “ELECTION DAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2020.” The statement is above a colorful picture of patriotic themed buttons that say, “VOTE.”
Kramer feels more action is required as many township residents may not have access to the website.
“I think it’s great that they’ve taken some action by putting it on their billboard and on their website, but this was mailed. So I think they need to send a letter to all our residents,” Kramer said. “If you’re going to mail it to us, I think you should mail us a rebuttal stating the correct information.”
As of Sept. 23, the correction had not been posted on the electronic sign in front of the township office.
Allegan County Clerk Bob Genetski told NewsNation affiliate WOOD-TV he believes the voters of Salem Township are “well-informed.” Genetski doesn’t believe the mistake will become an issue come Nov. 3.
Additionally, the township has included the correct date of the upcoming election inside absentee ballots being sent out this week.
“I think the township holds responsibility. They can say it was a typo, but then who’s really doing the drafting? Who’s proofreading those newsletters?” Kramer said. “If you mailed it to begin with, you should mail the correction. Simple.”
It is unclear exactly how many residents received the newsletter with the incorrect election date.