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Pandemic Primary

Over 2,100 voters in three jurisdictions cast absentee ballots

  Nearly 1,800 Frankenmuth City and Township voters chose to vote via absentee ballot for the Tuesday, August 4 Primary Election.

  That was a record amount and was expected by Frankenmuth City Clerk Phil Kerns, Frankenmuth Township Clerk Luci Valone and Blumfield Township Clerk Lisa Roethlisberger, who township had 321 residents voting via absentee ballot.

  The rise in absentee ballot voting can be attributed to the 2018 state proposal which allows no-reason absentee voting and the COVID-19 pandemic, which has people avoiding gatherings.

  Both Saginaw County proposals passed here and countywide. They were County Proposal 20-1, a Castle Museum millage renewal question and County Proposal 20-2 which was Sheriff Services millage renewal and increase. The Sheriff’s Services passed, 1,396-689.

  The Castle Museum totals here (Frankenmuth City and Township) were 1,589 yes votes to 516 no votes. The millage also funds historical museums in Frankenmuth, Bridgeport, Chesaning and St. Charles.

  Frankenmuth Historical Association Director Heidi Chapman was pleased with the vote.

  “This isn’t the first time that Frankenmuth has come through for us in our time of need. I was fairly confident that we would receive the support we needed to get this millage passed. This was a very smooth campaign process, as the FHA has a wonderful support system to the point where I couldn’t get yard signs out quick enough. What a wonderful problem to have,” Chapman said.

  Chapman said people in this area value their sense of history.

  "For the millage or against it, everybody shares history and it is so critically important to preserve, share and celebrate it. I think people rarely think about it, but if you live or work in Saginaw County, you are a part of history and a part of these five museums. Overall, we are so grateful for the continued support. For such a small fee for property owners, it really does make a huge difference in our budget – thank you!” Chapman stated.

  There were no contested races for the Republican Party for city and township voters in the county.

  There were five contested races in the Democratic Party for the city and township. Incumbent Sheriff William Federspiel defeated Kevin Stevens, 1,589-516; for the county clerk seat, Vanessa Guerra defeated incumbent Michael Hanley, 384-253; for congress 4th district, Jerry Hilliard edged Anthony Feig, 292-277; for representative 94th district, Demond Tibbs defeated Kevin Seamon, 342-232 and; for register of deeds, Katie Albosta Kelly rolled over David Miller, 483-109.

  In Blumfield Township, Clerk Lisa Roethlisberger reported 225 persons chose to vote at the polls and she processed 321 absentee ballots. A total of 395 were sent out.

  Blumfield residents said yes to both proposals, with the Castle Museum winning with 330 yes votes to 181 no votes while the Sheriff’s millage renewal passed, 317-194.

  In the challenged offices, for the Democratic 94th District representative, Seamon defeated Tibbs, 77-39; for Saginaw County Sheriff, Federspiel downed Stevens, 94-38; for county clerk, Guerra topped Hanley, 83-52; for register of deeds, Kelly defeated 93-30 and; for Republican 94th District representative, Kelly downed Lackie, 266-48.

  “It was slow but steady most of the day,” Roethlisberger said.

  There were a few voters who cross-voted in the city and township, meaning they voted for some Democratic candidates as well as Republican candidates. This was a closed primary where voters were required to vote straight ticket.

  Valone also had a number of absentee ballots that were not returned. The reason? Persons changed their minds and chose to vote in-person instead of mailing in their ballots.

  Kerns made a few points about the mail and absentee ballots.

  “With all the focus in the national media on U.S. Mail delivery and absentee ballots, it underscores the importance of the need for absentee voters to request their ballots as early as possible for the November election. That can be done now and our list is growing daily,” Kerns noted.

  “The local clerks have been working well with the Frankenmuth postmaster and staff; however, the delays appear to be at the metroplex facilities,” Kerns added. “Local voters are encouraged to drop off their ballots at the city and town government center and out of the area voters are advised to return their ballots without delay well in advance of the election. It is estimated that the November ballot will be available and sent to voters by mid to late September.”

  Kerns had praise for his polling staff and city voters.

  "As we are accustomed, our poll workers performed very well for this election and certainly appreciate the cooperation shown to them by local voters,” said.

  All three polling places practiced social distancing, with plenty of hand sanitizer, one-way flow for voting traffic and plexiglass partitions. Kerns borrowed retractable ribbon barriers from Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland to direct the voters through the process and the Frankenmuth City Department of Public Works (DPW) made over a half-dozen plexiglass barriers to shield the poll workers from the voters.


(c) 2006 Frankenmuth News