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Running for Office

What are the qualifications to run for township office?
To qualify for either township supervisor, treasurer, clerk or trustee, a person must be a township elector, but property ownership is not required. An elector is defined as someone 18 years of age, who is a U.S. citizen and has lived at least 30 days in the township for which they will serve.

How does a citizen qualify for office?
Visit the Michigan Department of State Elections website for the required  information on running as a candidate for township supervisor, clerk, treasurer and trustee.

For candidate filing deadlines, see the state Bureau of Elections calendar here.

What are the filing deadlines?
A person must be a U.S. citizen, at least 18 years of age, and registered to vote and a resident of the township for at least 30 days before the date they file to run for township office.

There are several deadlines for candidates for township office to file the applicable petitions, so it is still possible for a person to establish residency and become a qualified and registered voter for election to township board office by different dates:

By 4 p.m., April 19, 2016: Candidates for partisan office (township office) file nominating petitions and Affidavit of Identity for August primary.

  • By 4 p.m., July 21, 2016: Candidates without political party affiliation (not running in primary) file qualifying petitions and Affidavit of Identity for November general election.
  • By 4 p.m., July 22: Write-in candidates file declaration of intent for August primary.

So a person would have to be registered to vote and a resident for at least 30 days prior in a jurisdiction to be able to file for any of those deadlines. 

How long is the term of office for elected township officials?
The term of office for all elected officials is four years. The terms commence at 12 p.m. on November 20 following the November general election, provided the newly elected officials have qualified for office by that time. 

How does an elected official qualify for office?
To qualify, a successful candidate must file any necessary bond and take an oath of office before the township clerk, deputy clerk or other officer qualified to administer the oath, such as the county clerk or deputy county clerk, notary public, judge or justice with jurisdiction, or the state representative or senator. Elected officials must qualify for office before January 1 or lose the elected position.

Statutory duties for each elected township office

Township Supervisor’s Statutory Duties

  • Moderates board and annual meetings
  • Chief assessing officer (if certified)
  • Secretary to board of review
  • Township’s legal agent
  • Must maintain records of supervisor’s office
  • Responsible for tax allocation board budget (if applicable)
  • Develops township budget
  • Appoints some commission members
  • May call special meetings
  • May appoint a deputy

Township Treasurer’s Statutory Duties

  • Collects real and personal property taxes
  • Keeps an account of township receipts (revenues) and expenditures
  • Issues township checks
  • Deposits township revenues in approved depositories
  • Invests township funds in approved investment vehicles
  • Collects delinquent personal property tax
  • Responsible for jeopardy assessments in collecting property tax
  • Collects mobile home specific tax
  • Must appoint a deputy
  • Must post a surety bond

Township Clerk’s Statutory Duties

  • Maintains custody of all township records
  • Maintains general ledger
  • Prepares warrants for township checks
  • Records and maintains township meeting minutes
  • Keeps the township book of oaths
  • Responsible for special meeting notices
  • Publishes board meeting minutes (if taxable value is $82 million in 2016, annually indexed, or a charter township)
  • Keeps voter registration file and conducts elections
  • Keeps township ordinance book
  • Prepares financial statements
  • Delivers tax certificates to supervisor and county clerk by September 30
  • Must appoint a deputy
  • Must post a surety bond

Township Trustee’s Statutory Duties

  • Township legislators, required to vote on all issues
  • Responsible for township’s fiduciary health
  • Other duties as assigned by board
This page last updated on 8/16/2016.

New Official? MTA has you covered!

Get an overview of the “hows and whys” of township government and dig into the duties of each office at new officials training during December and January. Learn more here.

Our “Township Basics” kit of publications--written with only township officials in mind--is the perfect starter kit for newly elected officials, and includes our Introduction to Township Board Meetings, Official’s Guide to Township Government, and Authorities & Responsibilities of Michigan Township Officials Boards and Commissions. Check out MTA’s offerings online today!

What do township officials do?

Click here for the statutory duties for each elected township office and here for MTA Core Competencies for township supervisors, clerks, treasurers and trustees.

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