Voter turnout ‘very low’ at polling locations in Marquette County, more mail-in voting

North Central UP

MARQUETTE COUNTY, Mich. (WJMN) – Polling locations have been open since early Tuesday morning for the state primary.

Due to COVID-19 and mail-in voting/absent voter ballots being an option for Michigan residents, absent voter ballot numbers are up in Marquette County from previous elections.

“Our absentee ballots are of course higher this year, we expected that. I thank all of you for doing that. I think it’s a wonderful opportunity to get your voice heard and to make your vote count. But we do have our polling locations open,” said Linda Talsma, city clerk for Marquette County.

As of 3 p.m. on election day, Talsma said voter turnout at polling locations were “very low”.

In Negaunee Township, Rachel Sertich has been township clerk for two decades. She said this is the most absent voter ballots they have ever sent out.

“[We were] relatively light as of a little after 10 o’clock, we only had 65 voters who have gone through the poll. Which is rather anticipated due to the number of absentee ballots. Currently, we had 732. Up to this point in time, the highest count we’d had 437 back in 2016. So, with COVID precautions and everybody receiving an application to do an AV ballot. We’ve seen an awesome amount of support and an awesome turnout in regards to that,” said Sertich.

Sertich noted that they were waiting on about 150 absent voter ballots to be returned at the time Local 3 spoke with her. She reminds voters that election mail arrives in green and white envelopes this year, not manila envelopes.

Many polling locations around Marquette County have implemented safety precautions for voters and volunteers. Although masks weren’t required, masks were provided at locations in the city of Marquette, Negaunee Township, and the city of Ishpeming. Alongside hand sanitizer, six-feet distance markers, and cleaning booths between voters.

Voters are also reminded that if you are voting by absentee ballot, they need to be dropped off at your local election clerk’s office or dropbox by 8 p.m. EST Tuesday.

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