Election returns slowed by heavy turnout

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ARENAC COUNTY — A large number of absentee ballots and voters in general made three townships a little late getting their results in Nov. 6.

Au Gres Township, Deep River Township, and Whitney Township each brought their returns into the county clerk’s office after midnight on Election Day, with Au Gres bringing its results in at approximately 1:15 a.m., Whitney Township at about 2 a.m., and Deep River at about 2:40 a.m. Voting closed at 8 p.m.

Au Gres Township Clerk Michael Oxley said his township had issues with the ballot tabulation machine after the polls closed, which slowed down his ability to get results to the county clerk’s office.

“It came up with an error message after the ballots were through and the polls closed,” Oxley said. “I had to get on the phone and find out what to do to get the results.”

After 45 minutes on the phone, a tech with the Michigan elections office told him he could safely shut down the machine and restart it and keep the tabulated totals, and Oxley said at that point they were on their way to getting the ballots together to go to the clerk’s office.

Oxley said the township also had two military overseas ballots to input. He said the township emailed the ballots to the soldiers, who printed them out, filled them in, and mailed them back to the township. On election night, the election workers had to copy the ballots in after the polls closed so they could be counted.

The township also received 200 absentee ballots, and while they were able to get some of them counted when the polls were open, Oxley said the workers were still counting them after the polls closed at 8 p.m. because of how busy the election was.

Deep River Township Clerk Karlia Kroczaleski-Raymond said the election went smoothly, but was quite busy. About 1,066 people cast ballots at the township hall, including people from Sterling and the Pinnacle Park community.

The township received 250 absentee ballots as well, and Kroczaleski-Raymond said it was too busy while polls were open to get them counted during the day. As a result, nearly all of them were counted after the polls closed.

Kroczaleski-Raymond added she also had a few newer election workers as well, but things went smoothly nevertheless. Since the pollbook was electronic this year, it was easier to check people’s precincts and whether or not they had voted and were registered.

In Whitney Township, Clerk Linda Kauffman said it was an extremely busy day. She said it was difficult for the poll workers to keep up with the people voting.

Kauffman said they had an issue with their tabulator where the number of votes was off. That needed to get rectified before they could bring their results into the county clerk office, she said.

Additionally, Kauffman said the township had a large number of write-in votes to count, as the incumbent Treasurer Noreen Pendred was running a write-in campaign for re-election. Kauffman said every spelling of her name had to be counted separately by hand, which slowed down efforts to bring the results in.

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