By Jon King /

The Livingston County Board of Commissioners is set to approve a plan that would allow the Livingston County Clerk’s Office to enter into agreements to provide election services to local jurisdictions.

The board discussed a resolution put forward by Clerk Elizabeth Hundley that would fast track future arrangements with municipalities to set up and conduct absent voter counting boards that would be responsible for counting absentee voter ballots for that city or township clerk.

Speaking at Monday’s General Government and Health and Human Services Committee meeting, Hundley said that having the ability to process absentee ballots at the county level will result in benefits including cost savings to voters. Hundley says various factors that will determine when a county counting board should be utilized including the type of election, the number of absentee ballots expected to be issued, the availability of election equipment and space needed to convene a counting board. Down the road, she said the anticipated increased usage of absentee ballots may necessitate further investments. "As we have no reason absentee voting, I potentially see where the county may want to purchase a high-speed tabulator and we can process all of the absentee ballots for the entire county more efficiently. We are going through a change with elections and this is the first change in the law to allow tool such as this to be used so it could change down the road."

Hundley says such an arrangement was in effect for Tuesday’s primary for both Iosco and Unadilla townships, adding that the legislation setting up these agreements also allow for local clerks within the same county to form their own joint counting board if they so desired. Either way, she said she appreciated the legislature gave county and local clerks this option for processing absentee ballots, calling it “a good tool” that “affords some flexibility” to meet their unique needs.

The resolution set for approval on Monday would allow future agreements to only require the signature of the Board Chairperson as opposed to a full vote of the board.