Almont has nearly 400 early votes; 1,148 returned absentee ballots


TRI-CITY AREA — The State of Michigan created yet another new requirement for local clerks, to provide specialized new equipment and additional staff, to accommodate nine days of early voting.

In this area, that meant any registered voter could go to their respective polling location and cast a vote, from February 17 through the 25th.

Voters went to the polls throughout the area Tuesday, with key issues in Almont and Imlay City.

By the middle of last week, most locations were reporting sparse turnout and long days for election workers who spent at least eight hours at their posts waiting to assist voters.

The exception to the trend was in Almont where record numbers turned out.

Almont Township Clerk Jenny Henige told the Tri-City Times on Election (Tuesday) morning, “we sent out 1,261 absentee ballots and received 1,148. To this point, we have received right around 90 percent returned absentee ballots. That is by far, the highest in the county.”

Henige said 392 voters took advantage of the Early Voting. The township conducts the voting for both township and village residents.

According to Henige, there are approximately 5,600 registered voters between township and village residents.

Elsewhere, in Dryden Township, officials reported Monday they had a total of 162 registered voters take part in the early voting.

The township has approximately 4,000 registered voters, including 200 from the Almont school district according to township officials.

Polls were open in Dryden Township each day, on a rotating basis, there were three workers assigned to handle the work load.

Election workers were paid $13 per hour for their time helping with the election.

Although the ballot was filled primarily with Presidential Primary candidates, those voters in Dryden Township who are included in the Almont school district were able to cast their vote on a controversial $58.4 million school bond issue that has caused a great deal of animosity between outspoken residents on both sides of the issue.

While all of the voting in the Almont and Dryden areas was held at the respective township halls, Imlay City voters choosing to take part in Early Voting had to go to the Imlay Township Hall to cast their votes.

The two entities decided to combine their efforts and make it more convenient for local voters to take part in the Early Voting.

Imlay Township Clerk Carla Jepsen, who hosted the voting for the two entities said, “The City (Imlay City) had 30 voters for the nine days and in the Township, we had 81 for the nine days. A total of 111 (voters) took advantage of early voting, and we didn’t have any issues, everything ran smoothly.”

Much like a controversial bond question in Almont, Imlay City voters had a special ballot question regarding the formation of a new Public Safety Department.

If approved, it would generate over $300,000 in the first year and mean a consolidation of the police and fire departments.

City officials have said a successful outcome would mean additional officers for the police department as well as the Fire Chief becoming a full-time position.

Some city voters have expressed frustrations with a potential increase in taxes, if it were to pass.