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Opinion No. 5182

February 9, 1977


Election of members of township library board


Election of members of township library board


Election of members of township library board

Election to membership on a township library board is a partisan election.

Honorable Donald E. Bishop

State Senator

The Capitol

Lansing, Michigan 48901

You have requested that I determine whether members of township library boards are to be elected on a partisan or nonpartisan basis. For reasons hereinafter stated I am of the opinion that such officers should be elected at partisan elections.

1877 PA 164, Sec. 10, MCLA 397.210; MSA 15.1670, provides for the establishment of free public libraries in villages and townships. 1877 PA 164, Sec. 11; MCLA 397.211; MSA 15.1671, creates the township library board of directors and specifies the term for which members shall be elected, but does not specify whether the candidates for the office shall be partisan.

The Michigan Election Law, 1954 PA 116, ch 16, Sec. 341; MCLA 168.341; MSA 6.1341, deals with the election of township offices. Although the office of township library board director is not referred to as an elected township office in 1954 PA 116, supra, Sec. 341, Chapter 16 of the Election Law should be considered as a whole to determine the manner in which township library board directors shall be elected.

Upon examination of 1954 PA 116, ch 16, it is clear that township officers are elected in a partisan election. Section 343a of the Election Law, MCLA 168.343a; MSA 6.1343(1), provides for a township party committee for each political party in each organized township of the State. Section 345 of the Act, MCLA 168.345; MSA 6.1345 provides:

'A primary of all political parties shall be held in every organized township of the State on the Tuesday succeeding the first Monday in August preceding every General November election, at which time the qualified and registered electors of each political party may vote for party candidates for township offices.' [Emphasis added]

Since township library board directors are township officers, and since township officers are elected by means of a partisan election, the answer to your question is that it is the legislature's intention that township library board directors be elected on a partisan ballot.

The fact that the election to membership on a township library board is partisan does not prevent an elector printing or pasting the name of an independent candidate on the ballot, 1954 PA 116, supra, Sec. 734(4). (1)

Frank J. Kelley

Attorney General