We hope you enjoy this abbreviated version of the
Serving Frankenmuth Since 1906
Vol. 115 No. 11 - In our 115th year!
Wednesday, September 23, 2020
Clerks brace for onslaught of absentee ballots
Statewide, over 2.3 million registered voters have requested absentee ballots
Absentee voting for this fall’s general election is well underway for clerks state wide, including Frankenmuth City, Frankenmuth Township and Blumfield Township.
With COVID-19 pandemic entering its eighth month, more and more registered voters are opting to vote absentee, either by requesting ballots and returning them later in person to municipalities or using the United States Postal Service.
What this means is the voting – and tabulating – for the Tuesday, November 3 General Election has begun for Frankenmuth City Clerk Phil Kerns, Frankenmuth Township Clerk Luci Valone and Blumfield Township Clerk Lisa Roethlisberger.
“Last Thursday, both ballots and programming were received from the Saginaw County clerk’s office,” Kerns said. “Since then, the flurry began to test equipment and software, kick-off the processing of over 1,560 absentee ballots, and issue military and overseas ballots by last Saturday at 4pm. Basically, it is off to the races!”
The City of Frankenmuth has 4,422 registered voters eligible for this election. So far, approximately 35 percent of the city has chosen to use absentee ballots.
“We anticipate our ballots will be mailed out by week’s end, in spurts, and we have been working with local USPS Postmaster Dale Fisk who has been very supportive,” Kerns stated.
If voters want to know if they have signed up for an absentee ballot, they should visit https://mvic.sos.state.mi.us/.
For Frankenmuth Township, a total of 547 absentee ballots have mailed, Valone said. The township has 1,547 registered voters as of press time.
“The registered voter number grows daily with new voters. We have lots of teens and early 20s registering for the first time,” Valone pointed out.
Since 2020 is a presidential election year, six different political parties are trotting out their candidate for president and vice president, including incumbent Republican President Donald J, Trump and Vice President Michael R. Pence and the top challengers from the Democratic Party, Joseph R. Biden and his running mate, Kamala D. Harris.
On the city side, Frankenmuth Mayor Mary Anne Ackerman will run unopposed for her second, two-year term on City Council. The three incumbent City Council members – Mayor Pro-Tem Carl Schoenow, Beth Bernthal Reindel and Vickie J. Schmitzer are also unopposed for four-year terms.
City and township will also have three incumbents unopposed for the Frankenmuth School District Board of Education. They are President Brandon J. Muller, Vice President Karen Uebler and Trustee Michael Grossi.
For Saginaw County, there are only two races. For sheriff, Democratic incumbent William L. Federspiel is seeking to remain the county’s top law enforcement officer and Republican Rick Riebschleger is the challenger. Frankenmuth Township Republican Dennis Krafft is being challenged by Democrat Clifford Noell-Reindel for Saginaw County Commissioner District 8.
There are four proposals, two from the state, one from Saginaw County and one community college.
The community college question is the Delta College millage renewal and restoration proposal for operating purposes over the next eight years.
State Proposal 20-1 is a proposed constitutional amendment to allow money from oil and gas mining on state-owned lands to continue to be collected in state funds for land protection and creation and maintenance of state parks, nature areas and public recreation facilities; and to describe how money in those state funds are spent.
State Proposal 20-2 is a proposed constitutional amendment to require a search warrant in order to access a person’s electronic data or electronic communications.
For Saginaw County, Proposal 20-1 regards the Saginaw County Health Department and it is a new millage proposal to levy up to .48 mill during the years 2020-2029, which would raise $2,435, 478 in the first year.
All three clerks are concerned about the absentee voting process as there is some confusion.
“There are a lot of organizations from all political parties that are pushing for voters to vote via absentee ballot,” Roethlisberger said. “These organizations are mailing out absentee ballot applications to all voters that are not listed on permanent absentee voter lists in their jurisdiction. These applications are NOT being mailed out by your local clerk. If voters already mailed in an application for the August and November ballots, they do not need to amil in additional applications. These additional applications are only complicating and multiplying the work we, as clerks, have to do.”
Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson call on all Michigan citizens and the state legislature to take action now ahead of the November 3 general election. Whitmer and Benson urge voters to request and cast their absentee ballots as soon as possible, and state legislators to pass laws to prevent delayed election results and voter disenfranchisement.
“It is crucial that all Michiganders know how to safely exercise their right to vote and make a plan ahead of the November election. Right now, Michigan citizens can register to vote and request an absentee ballot online at Michigan.gov/vote,” Whitmer pointed out. “They also have a number of options to vote safely and securely, from home, early at the clerk’s office, and in person at the polls, and I encourage them to make their voting plan now.”
Last week alone, 275 city residents and seven township residents requested absentee ballots. In Blumfield Township, seven residents also asked for an AV ballot. As of press time, over 2.3 million Michigan residents have asked for absentee ballots.