May 5 election: Polls open; voters urged to social distance

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A few West Michigan communities are holding elections today with extra precautions in place meant to limit the spread of coronavirus.

Though people were encouraged to vote absentee, municipalities must have at least one polling location open for in-person voters.

Those polls opened at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. You can find your polling place and view a sample ballot by visiting the Michigan Secretary of State’s Voter Information Center website. You don’t need to show photo identification to vote, but it does speed up the process, so the SOS advises you bring your ID.

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson on Monday urged those who vote in person to wear masks, stand 6 feet apart and wash their hands when they are done. Her office has issued social distancing guidance to local clerks and provided personal protection equipment for polling locations.

Benson said that some 740,000 absentee ballots were mailed to voters in the 50 communities across the state that are holding elections Tuesday. About 140,000 of those had been returned as of Monday. Benson said she expected turnout to be double the average 12% for a May election.

In West Michigan, some school districts are asking residents to approve bond requests. Among those:

Stay with woodtv.com for election results as they come in after polls close. We’ll have live updates online after 8 p.m., plus coverage on WXSP at 10 p.m. and WOOD TV8 at 11 p.m.