The Kalamazoo Township Clerk, Mark Miller, has announced his retirement, leaving the township in need of a new clerk. In his resignation letter, Miller cited the overwhelming stress of working long hours, particularly during the 2022 election. He explained that the increasing complexity of election procedures, coupled with the lack of resources, contributed to his decision.
Miller had served the township for 14 years and was in his second four-year term as clerk. He expressed his enjoyment of the job, particularly running elections and taking minutes. However, the stress and demands of the evolving election processes proved to be overwhelming. Statewide changes to Clerk’s offices added more complexity and time requirements, with regulations and voter-approved initiatives contributing to the burden.
One example mentioned by Miller is the increase in no reason absentee voting, which led to a significant rise in the number of absentee ballots that he and his small staff had to handle. Unlike larger offices, Kalamazoo Township relied on manual processes, requiring them to hand-assemble each envelope containing the absentee ballots. This labor-intensive task, combined with the long hours, took a toll on Miller and his team.
Recognizing the toll it was taking on him physically and mentally, Miller made the difficult decision to resign. At his age, he no longer desired to work such long hours. Reflecting on the situation, he realized that he did not want to go through the same stress again. His resignation is set to take effect on February 28th.
Despite his resignation, Miller expressed his commitment to ensuring a smooth transition. He intends to train the new election coordinator and will remain on the township climate committee. Additionally, he will work with the township manager to select his successor. Ideally, he hopes that the new clerk will have an attention to detail and a passion for public service.
Miller’s resignation brings attention to the challenges faced by election workers and clerks across the state of Michigan. The increasing complexity and time demands of election procedures have become a sticking point for many in the field. While certain provisions, such as no reason absentee voting, have enhanced voter rights, they have also increased the workload for those responsible for managing elections.
Moving forward, it is crucial for the state and local governments to address these challenges and provide support for election workers and clerks. This includes allocating resources for adequate staffing, investing in technology that streamlines processes, and implementing policies that minimize unnecessary complexity. By doing so, they can alleviate the burden on election workers and ensure the integrity of the democratic process.
In conclusion, the resignation of Kalamazoo Township Clerk Mark Miller highlights the stress and challenges faced by election workers and clerks in Michigan. The increasing complexity of election procedures, coupled with limited resources, has taken a toll on those in the position. It is crucial for the authorities to address these issues and provide the necessary support to ensure the smooth running of elections. By doing so, they can attract and retain dedicated individuals who are passionate about serving the public.