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The term “official” can be used to represent at least two classes of individuals who serve a township: (1) elected officials and (2) other officials.
Elected officials serving on a township board are subject to residency requirements. Only qualified electors of the township are eligible to be elected to the township board. MCL 168.342(1). To be a qualified elector, one must reside in the township for 30 days. MCL 168.10(1). A residence is defined as the “place at which a person habitually sleeps, keeps his or her personal effects, and has a regular place of lodging.” MCL 168.11(1). If a person has more than one residence, then “that place at which the person resides the greater part of the time shall be his or her official residence for the purposes of” Michigan election law. An elected official changes residency when there is both an actual intent to abandon the prior residence and the undertaking of the act to acquire the new residence. Leonetti v Tolton, 264 Mich 618, 626; 250 NW 512 (1933).
For example, merely selling a home or changing a tax exemption may not indicate there is a change in residency. The law requires acts that indicate acquiring a new residence out of the township and the intent to abandon that jurisdiction as his or her residence.
Other officials are those that are employees of the township carrying out a specific duty or office, such as a building official or zoning official. These individuals are important to the essential functions of the township, but are not always subject to residency requirements. These officials can live outside the township without any violation of state law.
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