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Early voting faces slight delay in Alpena, Alpena Township

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz A dropbox for absentee ballots is seen outside Alpena City Hall today. Voters in Alpena and Alpena Township waiting for their absentee ballots may have to wait a few days longer than anticipated. Neither of the two governments have received their ballots, yet.

ALPENA — The start of early voting in Alpena and Alpena Township may be delayed by a day or two, as clerks there haven’t received the absentee ballots to distribute to voters.

Both the city and township hope to receive ballots today and get at least most of them in the mail by Thursday.

As of today, the city had received about 2,000 requests for absentee ballots and the township about 2,700. Record numbers of absentee ballots are expected this election — as happened in August — both because Michigan now allows no-reason absentee voting and because the coronavirus pandemic has made many voters nervous about visiting the polls.

Alpena Clerk Anna Soik said a shipment from FedEx is slated to arrive sometime today, but clerks must perform accuracy tests on tabulators and voter assist terminals to be sure the ballots will be counted before they can be mailed.

Employees have been busy getting the envelopes ready to be filled, but Soik said it will likely be a few days before they go into the mail and arrive in people’s mailboxes.

“We are hoping to have the majority of them sent out on Thursday, but that is going to be really tough,” she said.

“It has been crazy busy, and I think it is going to continue to be crazy busy all the way through Election Day,” township Deputy Clerk Dana Malcomson said. “I can see us reaching 3,500 requests for absentee voting before everything is said and done.”

Soik said people can stop in her office once the ballots are received and request one before they are sent in the mail. She said there is also a ballot dropbox for people who want to drop off their ballots in person and not mail them to the city.

The election is Nov. 3.

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