Michigan Townships Association

Running for Office

Interested in running for township office? Here’s some of what you need to know.

What are the qualifications to run for township office?man taking the oath
To qualify for either township supervisor, treasurer, clerk or trustee, a person must be a township elector, but property ownership is not required. A person must be a U.S. citizen, at least 18 years of age, and registered to vote and a ‘qualified elector’ of the township by the filing deadline. (MCL 168.342)

A ‘qualified elector’ defined is a person who possesses the qualifications of an elector as prescribed in section 1 of article II of the State Constitution of 1963 and who has resided in the township 30 days. (MCL 168.10)

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.

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

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.

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.

MTA Core Competencies of Elected Township Officials

Statutory Duties for Elected Township Office Positions

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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 $85 million in 2018, 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 legislators, required to vote on all issues
  • Responsible for township’s fiduciary health
  • Other duties as assigned by board
Additional Duties
  • Demonstrate knowledge about township law (general law or charter) government responsibilities, functions and powers
  • Identify the major functions of each branch of government—local, state and federal—along with their relationship to one another
  • Communicate and listen effectively
  • Utilize consensus-building techniques and motivate others to achieve desired outcomes
  • Manage adversity and hostility
  • Demonstrate ethical behavior
  • Possess vision, especially relative to the township’s needs or potential, and utilize public relations skills to positively represent the township
  • Understand the roles and responsibilities of other elected and appointed offices
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the various committees, boards and commissions serving the township, including their roles and responsibilities
  • Understand how township policies and procedures are set
  • Be aware of what constitutes lawful township expenditures
  • Utilize strategic planning to attain objectives
  • Demonstrate knowledge of how ordinances are lawfully adopted and legally enforced

For a full list of core competencies for elected township officials, click here.