Alpena County expects to see increase in absentee voting for August primary

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz Alpena Township Clerk Michele Palevich organizes a pile of absentee ballots that were returned to her office in 2022. The township is holding an accuracy test on its voting equipment on Wednesday.

ALPENA — Many voters in Alpena and Alpena Township aren’t waiting to submit their ballots for the Aug. 2 primary election, as both the city and township have already received a significant amount of filled out ballots.

Typically, a primary election brings out a small percentage of registered voters, but, with more than a few millage proposals at stake, voter turnout could be larger than normal.

Alpena Township Clerk Michele Palevich said for several years absentee voting has become popular in the township. From what she has seen so far this election cycle, she said, that may be the case again.

She said the township’s permanent absentee voter list, which has the names of registered voters who wish to be sent an absentee ballot application each election, has about 2,300 names on it and so far, the clerk’s office has received 1,403 applications back and about 700 ballots have been been returned. Palevich said she is confident that number will increase significantly, especially as the election nears.

“It really picks up at the end,” she said.

One of the primary items on the ballot in the township is a new six-year, 3-mill property tax that would cost the owner of a $100,000 house about $150 a year and raise about $1.1 million a year to fund operations and equipment for the township fire department.

Alpena Township wants voters to OK a new, 2-mill property tax to raise money for work on roads and ditches.

Palevich said she isn’t sure if the millage requests are motivating people to participate in the primary election.

“It doesn’t seem like people are really talking about them, or any of the other county millage requests, so I’m not really sure what the turnout will really be like,” she said.

All voters in Alpena County will decide the fate of three millage renewals.

The county seeks a four-year renewal of its 0.5-mill tax to be used to support local recreation projects and reduce pay-to-play fees.

Hopes are the senior services tax is renewed for four years. The millage would remain 0.55 mills and be used to support local senior programs and services.

The proposed 0.21-mill property tax supporting veterans services is also on the ballot and would cost the owner of a $100,000 house about $10.50 a year while raising about $207,000 a year to fund the Alpena County Department of Veterans Affairs.

There are several contested races on the ballot in the city and township, with perhaps the biggest being the contest for Alpena County Clerk. Incumbent Keri Bertrand and challenger Amber Hess — a pair of Republicans will square off — with the winner being unopposed in November.

In Alpena, Clerk Anna Soik said the city has issued about 1,000 ballots, which she said is on par with other smaller elections. She said people who have submitted applications, but haven’t received their ballots yet should contact her office at City Hall.

Soik said there is still time for people who want or need to vote absentee to do so. She said they can stop in the office, fill out an application and then a ballot, or complete the paperwork on the Michigan Voter Information website. Soik said there is a link to the application on the city’s website: alpena.mi.us.


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