By Charles Sercombe
There are just a little over two weeks before the Nov. 4 election, and in Hamtramck, there’s little sign of any kind of a campaign.
There are hardly any lawn signs for candidates, even though there is a tight race for the governor and other elected offices.
Or weirder, there is just about no sign of a race for five seats on Hamtramck’s Public School Board — even though there are 15 candidates in the race.
But, there appears to be some — and that’s a small some — activity on the streets and online.
According to sources, there are some school board candidates going door-to-door offering voters applications to vote by absentee ballots, who then take those applications and mail them in.
That, according to City Clerk August Gitschlag, could lead to legal trouble.
While it’s legal to offer an application, those who handle the application on the behalf of voters must identify themselves on the application. It’s a small technical matter, but a legal one.
And in the wake of four Hamtramck men recently being convicted of a felony charge of illegally handling actual absentee ballots from the 2013 election, you’d think there would be more awareness about the do’s and don’ts of election law.
The focus on absentee ballots has not gone away. The 2013 election stood out when over 700 voters voted by absentee ballot. That number was unheard of since as at most about 400 voters used that method in previous elections going back decades.
So far this year, over 800 absentee voter ballots have been turned in, according to the City Clerk’s Office, and that number will likely hit 1,000 or more.
The Michigan branch of the progressive organization Moveon.org has also been active in signing up voters here and getting them to vote absentee if they can’t make it to the polls on Nov. 4, said City Clerk August Gitschlag.
For the school board race, candidate Evan Major has taken to campaigning on Facebook and has some lawn signs to boot. Major is an appointee seeking one of three seats for a regular six-year term.
He also blogs on school issues on his own Facebook page called hamtramckfuture.com.
Schoolboard candidate Omar Almasmari is also on Facebook with a page called Omar-Almasmari for-Hamtramck School-Board.
Anyone we miss? If so, candidates, shoot us an e-mail.