We hope you enjoy this abbreviated version of the
Serving Frankenmuth Since 1906
Vol. 115 No. 15 - In our 115th year!
Wednesday, October 21, 2020
Absentee voters: Turn in your ballots soon!
In less than two weeks, the much-anticipated Presidential Election Day will have come and gone.
While there are plenty of local, state and national candidates and issues to vote on, the focus for many has been on the race for the United State President between incumbent Donald J. Trump and Joe Biden their running mates, Mike Pence and Kamala Harris, respectively.
The focus is also squarely on the election process and clerks who are facing an unprecedented number of absentee ballots and first-time voters. In the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with the passage of the Michigan 2018 no reason absentee voting proposal, more and more registered voters are choosing to vote early through absentee ballots.
As of press time, Frankenmuth City Clerk Phil Kerns has issued nearly 1,900 absentee ballots with just over 60 percent already returned to city hall in person (with the secure ballot boxes inside and outside city hall) or by mail.
“On Monday, we ordered extra ballots, beyond the 100-percent turnout already ordered, in the event of a higher number of spoiled, lost, etc. ballots are encountered. The last thing we want to do is run out of ballots,” Kerns said.
For Frankenmuth Township Clerk Luci Valone, a total of nearly 700 absentee ballots have been requested, 646 have been issued and 481 have been returned. They have 1,565 registered voters.
“Remember, people can still register . . . they just have to do it in person,” Valone said.
The township office will be open 8am until 4pm on Saturday, October 31, for the purposes of absentee voting. Valone would like to see the ballots earlier.
“I encourage voters to get those ballots back! About 95 percent of our ballots so far have been returned using the drop box,” Valone added.
In Blumfield Township, Clerk Lisa Roethlisberger has 531 requests, issued 516 ballots and a total of 186 have been returned to the township hall.
Neighboring Birch Run and Bridgeport townships are also busy ahead of the Tuesday, November 3 election. Birch Run Township has had 1,609 requests, 1,594 issued and 580 returned while Bridgeport Township lists 2,548 requests, 2,531 issued and 1,189 returned.
The city and township plan on counting absentee ballots on Election Day. The city will have a separate precinct for AV ballots, likely in the city council chambers, while the township intermingles their AV ballots with in-person voters, during lulls in the voting action.
Monday, October 19, was the last day to register to vote online for the November 3 general election. If someone has not yet registered after the deadline, they still may register in person at their city or township clerk’s office through Election Day with a document verifying their residency. They can also apply for and return an absentee voter ballot at their clerk’s office in the same trip.
Absentee voters may use the U.S. Mail. Locally, city and rural route carriers have a separate bin for the mailed ballots. They are taken back to the post office the day they are collected, locked away and the following morning are taken to the proper jurisdiction.
However, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson urges absentee voters to hand-deliver ballots to their local clerk’s office or ballot drop boxes.
“Only absentee ballots received by 8pm on November 3 can be counted, and voters should not risk possible postal delays this close to the deadline,” Benson said.
As of Monday, October 19, more than 1.5 million Michigan citizens had already cast absentee ballots, and nearly 3 million citizens had requested them.
Additionally, on Friday, October 16, to prevent voter intimidation, Benson issued a directive clarifying that the open carry of firearms is not permitted in or within 100 feet of voting locations on Election Day.