Polling locations in Alger County see an increase in absentee voting

North Central UP

ALGER COUNTY, Mich., (WJMN) – Two polling locations in Alger County reported higher numbers of absentee voters this year.

Au Train Township sent out 250 absentee ballots for the August Primary Election. By 3:30 P.M. they had received 180 of those ballots back according to the township clerk Mary Walther Johnson. She said that the day was going well, people were practicing social distancing and they weren’t having any issues with their machines.

In Limestone Township, they sent out over 3 times the amount of absentee ballots compared to last year. Danita Rask, the township clerk, said of the 85 ballots that were sent, all but 10 had been returned by 5:00 on August 4.

“It’s been going very smoothly,” said Rask. “We’ve had kind of a slow day, not too many people coming in which is fine, we had a lot of people absentee vote ahead of time.”

Rask said they had some more preparations than they normally do. The township hall is small so they’re capacity for voters is two but they’ve only been having one person enter at a time. They’ve also been providing clean pens and disinfecting the booth after each use.

“It was a lot more work for the clerks, a lot of work,” said Rask. “We now have the electronic poll book so we have a whole bunch of stuff that we have to do ahead of the election with this, we have to download information from the state, we have our files here and election day we have all this other stuff happening here and we have a lot of other things to do and also lots of absentee ballots to send out and receive.”

Rask expects as many or more absentee voters for the November election. She says they ordered a ballot dropbox to put outside the hall, but it didn’t arrive in time for the August Primaries. The dropbox was one of several items the township purchased with money from the Cares Act. According to Rask they also purchased barriers for their voting check-in table and disinfecting supplies.

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