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Busy election driving up absentee ballot numbers
Ask local city and township clerks what’s on their mind lately and the first answer will probably be preparing for the upcoming 2018 General Election, set for Tuesday, November 6, with polls open 7am until 8pm.
“Knowing that Michigan will have a new governor, attorney general, secretary of state and 94th District state representative due to term limits, and several contested races like the city’s mayoral, city council and school board, the Department of State Bureau of Elections is advising locals about the importance of being prepared for increased voter turn-out for this election,” Frankenmuth City Clerk Phillip Kerns advised.
Kerns and Frankenmuth Township Clerk Luci Valone are used to high turn-outs for November elections. In 2016, for the presidential election, turn-out was nearly 75 percent; however, Kerns pointed out that 1,200 absentee ballots were processed or nearly 30 percent of those registered in the city.
"Absentee ballots give voters who attend the polls some relief because over a quarter of the registered voters have already voted absentee and do not need to come to the polls on Election Day,” Kerns stated.
Additionally, voters may need some extra time in the booth because this ballot will not feature the straight party ticket option as a result of state law enacted two years ago, that was temporarily suspended by a judge, and then recently upheld by another judge.
“Since this isn’t a November Presidential Election, we are being told that turn-out could be greater than normal and voter interest in this election is gaining momentum,” Kerns said.
The race for Mayor of Frankenmuth is also heating up between incumbent Gary Rupprecht and challenger Mary Anne Ackerman. Also, there are four Saginaw County proposals for voters to consider.
Because of these factors, Kerns is strongly encouraging those voters who are eligible to vote to do so by absentee ballot to help reduce the expected higher than normal turn-out. As of press time, over 650 city voters have already requested a ballot and those ballots are being mailed out.
There are many more eligible persons who can apply for an absentee ballot.
“The benefit is that you don’t have to find a parking place, stand in line and have that hurried feeling while voting because people are standing behind you,” Kerns noted. By voting absentee, you can vote in the comfort of your home, at your own pace and as long as the ballot is delivered back to the clerk by Election Day, your vote will count.
Although persons are automatically eligible to request an absentee ballot if they are 60 years of age, the other reasons are: 1. You expect to be absent from the community in which you are registered the entire time the polls are open on Election Day; 2. You are physically unable to attend the polls without the assistance of another; 3. You cannot attend the polls because of tenets of your religion; 4. You are precinct inspector in a precinct other than the precinct in which you reside and/or; 5. You cannot attend the polls because you are confined in jail awaiting arraignment or trial.
Voters in city precincts will cast votes in the usual place, the Nickless Community Room in the lower level of the City & Township Government Center, 240 West Genesee Street. An election official will be available to direct voters if help is needed.
Township residents will vote in one precinct in the Public Safety Building, 218 West Genesee Street.
“The goal on Election Day is to direct voters to their correct precinct and keep lines flowing smoothly for a positive Election Day experience,” Kerns added.
Because of the recent August Primary Recount for the Republican candidate on the State Representative 94th District, ballots arrived late and have been released to the post office. They should arrive in the coming days for those residents who previously requested an absentee ballot, Kerns said.
For those wanting an absentee ballot, applications will be available at the City Office until 4pm Monday, November 5. Kerns advises that state law allows only the voter pick up his or her ballot.
For more information, call the City Office (989-652-9901).