Special election in Michigan's 11th Congressional District for McCotter's seat

(WXYZ) - A special election is taking place today that is costing taxpayers big bucks to fill the seat of former Congressman Thaddeus McCotter who resigned over the summer.

McCotter stepped down in the 11th district after a scandal involving his staff members putting together false signatures on a nominating petition. Three former aides are facing charges.

This special election will cost taxpayers $650,000.

"It's ridiculous.  It's $650,000 of costs that are caused by the selfish decision of one man, Thaddeus McCotter, former Congressman," said Bill Bullard, the Oakland County Clerk and Register of Deeds.

Cities have to pay for this election when they did not budget for it and might not be able to afford it, yet it has to be done.

"There are some cities that are strapped.  Most cities and townships and they might have to cut into the police and fire protection to pay for the cost of this election which is ridiculous," said Bill Bullard.

Bullard said he wrote a letter to the Governor and a number of legislators to get a special appropriation in September to reimburse the local governments.  He said taxpayers would have made out better if McCotter had not resigned, but would have just been paid to sit at home.

"If he had talked to me I would have said, just stay home, don't go to work, draw your salary, it would be cheaper than a special election," said Bullard.

When 7 Action News arrived at Precinct 5 in Redford Township at 11 a.m., only five people had voted, and they were the people working the polling location.

There are five Republicans on the ballot today to face off against Democrat David Curson on November 6.

Whoever wins will only serve seven weeks, but likely it will only be six weeks after the votes have been verified.

On November 6 people will also have to decide who will take charge of the seat in January when the new term begins.  Both races are on the ballot at the same time. 

That race pits Republican Kerry Bentivolio, a former teacher, against Democrat Syed Taj, a Canton Township Trustee.  Bentivolio also has his name on the ballot for today's election to fill the remainder of McCotter's term.

People who are working the polls said that they are not surprised by the low voter turnout because this week included the first day of school so many parents are focused on that. It also right after a holiday when people are still trying to get back into the swing of things.

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley talked about why the election needs to happen in a press release on the State of Michigan's website. 

"We will move forward so that the district residents have full representation in Congress for the remainder of the term," said Lt. Gov. Calley. 

The state could not hold the special election on the regularly scheduled primary on August 7 because primary ballots were already printed and absentee ballots were already mailed out by the time McCotter resigned. 

Precincts are open until 8:00 p.m. for Oakland County residents in: Highland, White Lake, Milford, Commerce, Walled Lake, Wixom, South Lyon, Lyon, Novi, Northville, and part of Waterford.

7 Action News reached out to McCotter's people for comment and we have not heard back from them.

We also went to McCotter's Livonia home, but no one would come to the door.

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