IRON MOUNTAIN, Mich. (WJMN) – With the November election just over a month away, voters are looking to make sure their ballots matter. In Iron Mountain, absent voter ballots have arrived. On Thursday, envelopes were being stuffed and digitally recorded so they could be sent out once the testing process is complete.
“When a resident returns a ballot, the first thing that happens is it is recorded in our computer system called the qualified voter file. That notes the exact date and time the ballot was returned. From there they get organized into individual precincts and they get filed and locked in the clerk’s office until election day. Nothing is opened. They are left intact and sealed until election day,” said Iron Mountain City Clerk/Treasurer Isaac Micheau.
Micheau repeatedly checked the scanning process so there would be no mistakes of who voted for whom. He explained why ballots haven’t shown up in mailboxes just yet.
“For our county, we have been having due to the virus, an increased demand for absent voting. There has been additional demand on our suppliers. It has slightly delayed the normal issuing time for ballots. We would just ask people for people’s patience that as people become concerned they are not getting their ballots, we are working on them. They have been received, it’s just with the increased volume it’s taking a couple of extra days to get everyone their ballot.”
Once absent voter ballots are received, you can mail them back right away or consider your voting options and drop them off p until the close of polls on election day in the drop box at the main entrance. The lobby of city hall is closed to the public at this time. If it is open by election day, you would be able to bring it in there as well. If it were open, you could also get a ballot and fill it out in one stop on election day.
Micheau said there has been an increase in the number of absent voter ballots requested, but assures people it’s not the only way to have your vote count. “Everyone will have the opportunity to come in and voice their opinion through their vote on election day, no matter what.”
Micheau told us that because of social distancing guidelines and other COVID-19 protocols they are expecting longer wait times on election day. He said one thing that could delay your ballot is wearing clothing or materials with political connotations.
“On election day we want to make sure people are not wearing a particular candidate’s name but you want to avoid slogans as well. A slogan is considered political material just as much as the name of the actual candidate.”
He told us he wants a polling location to feel friendly without persuasion of fellow voters. Micheau said if you do forget, the election workers would kindly ask you to flip your shirt inside out, take your hat off or not use the pen you keep on your person. He said polling employees will nicely remind you, because everyone forgets from time to time and you will still be allowed to vote.
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