Ypsilanti Township Election—Will the People Speak?

Desiraé Simmons

Ypsilanti Township is currently holding an election that will end on August 3, 2021. There are 4 millages on the ballot:

  • Fire protection, prevention, rescue services, and equipment reserves, which is expected to generate an estimated revenue of $4,625,417.00 in the first year.
  • Police protection, which is expected to generate an estimated revenue of $8,436,761.00 in the first year.
  • Recreation, bike path, sidewalk, roads, parks, and general operations fund, which is expected to generate an estimated revenue of $1,488,866.00 in the first year.
  • Garbage, refuse collection, recycling, composting, disposal of solid waste, energy conservation, alternative energy, water quality, and environmental protection, which is expected to generate an estimated revenue of $3,559,721.00 in the first year.

In one week, Ypsilanti Township residents will weigh in on their budget priorities and decide whether or not to support a millage to increase funding for police on the Township’s August 3rd ballot. In May of 2021 residents in neighboring municipality Pittsfield Township had the opportunity to weigh in on their budget priorities, and chose to vote down an increase to the police budget in a rare rejection of a millage in Washtenaw County by popular vote. In that same month and to the shock and dismay of many city residents, four councilmembers in the City of Ypsilanti voted to increase the Ypsilanti Police Department budget to add three more patrol officers. As it stands now, police budgets in eastern Washtenaw County have won the support of government officials but have lost at least once, by the people. With this record and in context of data on prior voter turnout—could August 3rd produce another upset?

During the July 11 What’s Left Livestream (1h2m), contributor Alex Thomas shared that he was voting for all of the millages except the one for “police protection.” As Alex and I discussed in the July 25 What’s Left Livestream, in the 2020 primary election last August, Precinct 1 had the lowest voter participation percentage with 22.83% and Precinct 14 had the highest voter participation percentage with 41.92%. These are high participation rates based on recent elections with the typical numbers for Precinct 1 being 4.77% and Precinct 14 being 11.55%. This means that just a few hundred votes could swing the election either way.

Lastly, despite Pittsfield Township residents’ rejection of their police budget increase mere months ago, residents will face another attempt by Pittsfield Township officials to increase the police allocation via a “Public Safety Millage Request” on November 2nd of this year. What happens in Ypsilanti Township and the City of Ypsilanti in August may give us a hint of whether the residents of Washtenaw County can be effective at having our budget wishes prioritized into the future. 

Registration and voting information from the Ytown.org website:

Registered voters can vote early with an absentee ballot at their Clerk’s Office through Monday, August 2, 2021 or at their polling place on Election Day, August 3rd.

Voters are encouraged to return their ballots at one of the township’s dropboxes at the Civic Center (7200 S Huron River Dr) or Ford Blvd Fire Station (222 S Ford Blvd) or in person at the Clerk’s Office (7200 S Huron River Dr). 

Voting Absentee Information

Those who haven’t registered online by Monday, July 19, 2021 may register and vote in one trip at their Clerk’s Office until 8:00pm on Election Day, August 3, 2021.

Voter Registration Information

If you have any questions or would like to request an Absentee Ballot, contact Clerk Heather Jarrell Roe at (734) 484-4700.