Questions and Answers About
Who is eligible to vote in Michigan?
In order to vote in Michigan you must
- a citizen of the United States
- at least 18 years of age on election day*
- a resident of Michigan for at least 30 days
- have registered at least 30 days prior to the
election in which you wish to vote
*The Attorney General has determined that a person
who reaches his/her birthday within 24 hours following the day of
election is eligible to vote provided he/she meets all other
can I register to vote?
You may register at any of the
- office of your city, township or county clerk
- a branch office of the Secretary of State when
you obtain a driver's license
- through a deputy registrar authorized by the
local clerk to take registrations
May I register to vote by mail?
In Michigan, you may register by mail
if you are:
- physically disabled
- temporarily absent from your city or township
- in the Armed Forces temporarily residing in
another state or country even if you no longer maintain a home in
Contact the local clerk in the Michigan community
where you last resided to obtain the necessary forms. Upon
completion and having been notarized, these forms must be returned
to the local clerk. Military personnel and their dependents may also
register using the Federal Post Card Application. This post card
application must be signed by the presiding officer.
do I have to change my registration?
If you change your address WITHIN the
city, township or village, notify your local clerk. You will then be
placed in the correct precinct and issued a new voter registration
card. The change may also be made at a branch office of the
Secretary of State or at the polls on election day.
Changes in name due to marriage or legal action
require re-registration. This may be done at any of the locations
established to take voter registrations.
If you move from one community to another, you
must re-register to be able to vote.
Must I re-register from time to time?
Registration in Michigan is kept
current by just voting. If you do not vote for a period of five (5)
years, the local clerk will notify you and ask if you wish to
maintain your registration. Response to this inquiry keeps your
registration current; failure to respond will lead to cancellation.
I declare a party preference when I register?
Michigan does not require a
declaration of party preference to register. However, in order to
vote in the Presidential Primary ONLY, a person must have declared a
party preference in writing at least 30 days prior to this election.
Forms for this party declaration are available through your local
clerk or at a branch office of the Secretary of State.
Where do I vote?
Each voter must vote in the voting
place designated to serve the precinct or ward in which they reside.
This location is indicated on your voter identification card or you
may call or email your local clerk to determine where you should
go. There is also a handy ward
map to help you determine your voting ward/precinct.
are the polls open?
Polls open at 7:00 am and remain open
until 8:00 pm. Anyone in line at 8:00 pm is eligible to vote.
Do I vote at the same place each time?
You may or may not. Polling locations
for school elections are sometimes different than those for general
elections. Be sure to check with your local clerk or with the
website if you are in doubt. Polling locations are also posted in
local newspapers prior to each election.
I have a physical handicap, may I vote at the polls?
Persons with a physical handicap are
eligible to vote by absentee ballot. However, if you wish to vote at
the polls, contact the office of your local clerk to determine which
polling locations are handicapper accessible. Your clerk will direct
you to the proper site.
If you are blind, unable to read or otherwise
unable to vote by yourself, you m bring someone to assist you or ask
the election inspectors for assistance. The law prohibits an agent
from your union or your employer from assisting you at the polls.
may I vote absentee?
You may vote absentee when:
- You are 60 years of age or older.
- You expect to be absent from the community in
which you are registered to vote the entire time the polls are
- You are physically unable to attend the polls
without assistance from another.
- You are prohibited from attending the polls
because of the tenants of your religion.
- You have been appointed to serve as an election
worker in a precinct other than the one in which you reside.
- You are confined to jail awaiting arraignment
How do I obtain an absentee
Application must be made in writing
to your local clerk. Applications are available at the Clerk's
office or you may request the ballot in writing. Your written
request must state the following:
- You are a registered voter in the community.
The reason you are eligible for an absentee ballot.
- Your present registered address. The address to
which you wish the ballot mailed.
- Your signature - If a husband and wife both
request an absentee ballot, both signatures must be included.
- Military personnel and their dependents may
request absentee ballots on the Federal Post Card Application.
If you wish to have your ballot mailed
applications must be filed with the Clerk by 2:00 pm on the Saturday
preceding the election. You may also apply and vote at the Clerk's
office up until 4:00 pm the day preceding the election. Absentee
ballots are only issued after the 4:00 pm deadline in emergency
situations. Absentee ballots must be returned to the local clerk by
8:00 pm on Election Day in order to be counted.
Questions and Answers About Services
do I do if my sewer backs up into my home?
Call the Department of Public Works
office at City Hall, give the contact person's name and the address
where the problem is occurring. The Department will dispatch the
sewer maintenance crew to the address and jet rod the sewer at no
cost to the property owner. The property owner will then be advised
as to what was found, if anything. Normally the problem exists in
the sewer lateral, which is the line going from the main sewer to
the building, however, at times there has been something lodged in
the main sewer, such as roots, that will restrict the flow. If the
problem is in the lateral, it is the responsibility of the property
owner to contact someone to determine where the problem is in the
line and make necessary repairs. If the sewer problem is found to be
in the street right-of-way, and it becomes necessary to dig in the
right-of-way, the City will pay for customary charges provided the
homeowner and/or plumber follows the proper procedures. Contact the
Department of Public Works for more information.
What do I do if I wish to have brush picked up?
The City of Niles offers a free limb
and brush chipping program to its residents. Please keep the
following rules in mind:
- Pickup is scheduled for the second and fourth
Tuesdays of each month, from March thru mid-October.
- Residents must call the Department of Public
Works (683-4700 x 399) by no later than noon
on the Friday just prior to the scheduled pickup day.
- Material must be placed at the curb or edge of
roadway by no later than 7:00 am on the scheduled pickup day, with
the cut ends facing toward the street whenever possible.
- Material must be easily handled by one man.
- Vines, leaves, limbs and brush with dirt
attached, rose and other thorn bushes, lawn and flower clippings,
and limbs with wire or nails will not be picked up.
- The City of Niles reserves the right to limit
or reject the material to be picked up due to size, quantity, or
- The program is not intended for removal of tree
topping or removal that would normally be handled by a tree
- Do not cover the water meter lid in the
boulevard. This limits the meter reader's access to our meter
which may cause inaccurate readings.
As long as you are on the list and have abided by
the above rules, your items will be picked up. Please keep in mind
that this program is extremely popular, with the pickup list at
times surpassing 100 locations. Because of this the Street
Department sometimes must work several days
in order to complete the pickup. If you are on the list
but your limbs or brush are not picked up on the first day of the
pickup, please do not become upset or concerned. It is
recommended that you place your brush out at the street just prior
to the scheduled pickup starting date. Placing the brush out several
days in advance may cause grass in the boulevard to become yellow or
happens to the mulch that is generated from the brush chipping
The mulch, which is ideal for placing
around planting areas, walk paths, and other uses, is offered free
of charge to area residents. Residents may pick up the mulch at the
Street Department garage, 1815 Eagle St. (located directly behind
Ring Lardner Junior High School), Monday through Friday, from 8:00
am to 3:00 pm. Residents must provide the necessary tools and
containers. At various times the City will provide Saturday morning
hours. Announcements will be made in the Niles Daily Star and on
radio station WNIL-AM.
I'd like to make public
sidewalk repairs to the walk in front of my home. Do I need a
Yes, a permit s required for any type of public sidewalk work. The
permit is free and is quite simple to obtain. Either fill out the
on-line version of the form, or stop in at the Department of Public
Works office at City Hall. You will need to know the address where
the work is to be performed, what quantity you wish to construct or
replace, the name of the contractor, and the date by which the work
will be completed. The City will inspect the forms prior to the
pouring of concrete and make a final inspection once the work is
How do I find whether or not
my refuse hauler is licensed to haul trash in the City?
The Department of Public Works issues permits to
refuse haulers annually. Any refuse hauler that collects trash in
the City of Niles is required to have a permit. There is a fee for
the permit. Normally there are over 50 refuse hauling vehicles per
year representing numerous companies that obtain the annual permits.
The names are available upon request. It is also important to know
that all licensed haulers in the City are required to offer
recycling services to you. Contact the Department of Public Works
for more information.
does the leaf collection program work?
Normally, the fall leaf collection
program begins the last week of October. The leaves are collected
one ward at a time, starting the program in a different ward each
year. The date that the program will begin will be announced in the
Niles Daily Star, the Leader, South Bend Tribune, and on radio
Please follow these few simple rules:
- Rake leaves to the back of the curb and not
onto the pavement.
- Only clean leaves will be picked up. Leaves
mixed with brush limbs trash ashes, or other debris will not be
- Leaves must be raked out in advance of the
pickers. Leaves raked out afterwards will not be picked up.
The goal is to go around the City two complete
times, weather permitting. It s important to rake as many leaves out
as possible in advance of the first pick up, since the second time
around may be halted or delayed by bad weather. Normally the crews
work ten hours per day, Monday through Saturday. It is always our
goal to complete the entire program prior to December 15th, again,
weather permitting. Should you not be able to rake your leaves out
in time to be picked up by the City, you may take them to the
Southeast Berrien County Landfill, 3200 Chamberlain Rd., Buchanan,
and dispose of them. There is no charge.