There aren’t many people in this Michigan village — much less candidates for councilors

OTTER LAKE, MI – When voters in this small borough look at their ballots on election day, there will be nothing to choose from in the race to the parish council.

There are no candidates in the general election on Tuesday 8 November to fill three vacancies on the council, although two villagers have registered as candidates for entry, a necessary step to count the votes for them.

If these candidates win at least one vote, they will join the council and help find one more to be appointed and serve with them for the next four years.

“It’s a constant problem on our (boards and) boards,” said Clerk Terry Gill. “We can’t find people. We don’t have that many. “

When the US Census Bureau was last counted in 2020, Otter Lake had only 426 inhabitants, making it one of the 100 smallest municipalities in Michigan.

This population also includes many retirees who travel south to spend the winter, officials said, which cuts even further into the pool of potential candidates for public office in the community that stretches across the Lapeer-Genesee County border.

There are only 21 registered voters on the Genesee side of the County which was established in 1873 on a portion of 6,000 acres of pine forest.

This large tract of land was originally owned by Garritt Smith and was later purchased by CB Benson of Oswego, New York to produce pine wood, the village website said.

The name Otter Lake was created when Andrew McArthur of Columbiaville found five otters swimming in an unnamed lake on September 29, 1838, and nearly 40 years later the name was extended to the entire community.

David Dorr, who served nearly 30 years as a member of the village council, said it has always been difficult to keep enough residents interested in public service.

As a result, Otter Lake made officials and treasurers appointed, not elected, positions.

Dorr is one of two registered candidates for the November 8 election. He wants to remain the chairman of the commune council, but has not submitted the necessary documents on time to qualify for the vote.

“It’s very difficult (to keep the village running),” he said. “The younger generation just didn’t want to get involved. If we could do everything (rural business) online, we could get more people involved. “

While disbanding the village “crossed our minds,” Dorr said the plan for now is “to keep plugging in to try to engage the people.”

“I think we will be successful,” he said.

Dorr said he had contacted another resident, Deb Thomason, who had also agreed to register as a council candidate on Tuesday.

“He wants to get involved and has a lot of good ideas …” he said of Thomason. “I said, hey, now’s your chance to do it,” if you want to.

Under state law, residents who have not submitted a nomination or have not registered as entered applicants may not be elected, no matter how many votes they receive on election day.

Genesee County Deputy Secretary General Leslie A. Raleigh said the rule even covers Jesus Christ, the age-old memo for various offices.

The deadline for registering as a written candidate was Friday, October 28th.

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