By STEVE SCHULWITZ
News Staff Writer
ALPENA - The Aug. 5 primary election is an important one for Alpena County and it is important that as many people as possible get out and vote. Besides having four millage renewal requests on it the ballot also has several commissioner races that could shape the direction the county takes in the years ahead.
Typically primary elections bring out a much smaller percentage of voters than the larger general election, which takes place on Nov. 4, but because of the millage requests it is likely more people will show up at the polls. The millages, if passed, will help to fund local senior services, youth and recreation needs, as well as ambulance and veterans services.
County Clerk Bonnie Friedrichs said there is still time for people who aren't registered to vote to do so, but that time is running out. She said the deadline for people to register is Monday at the end of the business day.
"People can register at my office, or at their township or city clerk's office before they close on July 7," Friedrichs said. "You can also register at the Secretary of State's office. You just need to have your driver's license or ID and fill out some simple paperwork. You will get your card in the mail, but hold on to your receipt until you receive your card."
Friedrichs said in the August 2012 election between 16 and 18 percent of the voters in the county came out to vote, with the 911 millage being one of the main issues on the ballot. In 2010, when the four millages on this year's ballot were approved, there was 23 percent. She said she believes the same number of people will vote this time. Friedrichs said people need to remember when voting for local, state and federal candidates you have to vote for the party and are not allowed to cross party lines.
"You have to vote a straight party ticket," Friedrichs said. "We really want people to understand that."
As the August election nears, work already is being done for the November general election. She said people who wish to run for positions can do so if they register by July 17.
"People who have no party affiliate can be on the November ballot and anyone wishing to run for the local school boards also have to file by that date," Friedrichs said.
Friedrichs said the townships, city and county have already begun receiving absentee ballots, but it has been slow to this point. She said once the Fourth of July holiday passes she expects the number to increase.
For more information about the election contact your township or city clerk, or Friedrichs' office.
Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews. Read his blog, Upon Further Review ... at www.thealpenanews.com