More than half of 10,120 East Lansing absentee ballots have been returned

Even three weeks before the election, East Lansing City Clerk Jennifer Shuster said she was working nonstop for this life-changing election.

“We have issued 10,120 absentee ballots and 51% of those have been returned as voted. This is a record-breaking amount for the City of East Lansing,” Shuster said.

With the coronavirus spiking, some voters just don’t feel safe hitting the polls in-person.

Supreme Court rejections of Whitmer orders leave next step to local governments

East Lansing area residents may see a shift in COVID-19 regulations with the Michigan Supreme Court ruling against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s authority to declare a state of emergency.   

In March, Whitmer declared a state of emergency and issued numerous executive orders mandating precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. On Oct. 2, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that the extension of the state of emergency past April 30 was unconstitutional and all following executive orders were baseless. On Monday, the court denied Whitmer’s request to delay the date its decision takes effect.

Remote learning frustrates, delays East Lansing parents

Parents wondering when East Lansing students can resume in-person learning hoped to get an answer in a School Board meeting held via Zoom on Sept. 28. They were disappointed.

One was school board candidate Joshua Barber.

“I thought there would have been a plan at this last meeting,” Barber said. “It seems like we would have made some progress at this point. There’s a lot of families out there that are hurting right now and their kids are, too.”

During her report, Superintendent Dori Leyko announced that a plan would be brought to the Board Oct. 12.

Undercounted groups unite for 2020 census participation

Two groups historically undercounted in the U.S. Census stood together on Feb. 24. The Asian Pacific American Student Organization and the Native American and Indigenous Student Organization held a joint meeting to discuss their communities’ participation in the census. As presenters noted, Asian American and Pacific Islanders and Native Americans are underrepresented in census data. This is important, as census counts determine how federal  resources are allocated.

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson holds a press conference to discuss her 30-minute guarantee on Dec. 12, 2019.

Secretary of state warns Michigan could be last to report in 2020 election

East Lansing’s November 2019 election was a small preview. More than 1,000 people registered to vote on Election Day, and the city experienced a 20% increase in absentee ballots.

There are concerns for higher-profile elections such as the state’s March 10 presidential primary. Michigan’s new laws allow no-reason absentee voting, Election Day registration and automatic registration when people apply for a state ID.

Hub plans to add a pair of 14-story buildings

Plans by the owners of the Hub, a new 12-story apartment building, to tear down five fraternity houses for two additional 14-story buildings, are running into some questions.

Hundreds of teal flags along Grand River to honor survivors

Hundreds of teal prayer flags will soon fly high over Grand River Avenue in a project to honor sexual abuse survivors. Exactly 505 flags, one for every known survivor of former gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse, will line the street throughout April, which is sexual assault awareness month. Each one has a survivor’s name embroidered on it. Students and community members detailed the flags with messages of support. More than 4,000 people have helped personalize the flags.