Clerks say election ran smoothly

ALPENA -Voters in the city of Alpena and the rest of Alpena County came out in strong numbers for Tuesday’s election.

According to City Clerk Karen Hebert and County Clerk Bonnie Friedrichs, the election went smoothly and there were no problems that hindered the voting or tallying processes.

Friedrichs said there were 3,964 ballots cast county-wide during Tuesday’s general election, most of which came in the city where there was a hotly contested race for a pair of municipal council seats at stake. She said 17.50 percentage of registered voters in the county cast ballots, which was not bad considering only the library millage was on the ballot for everyone outside of Alpena.

Hebert said the city had a very large turnout. She said 2,220 ballots were filed, which is about 26 percent of the city’s registered voters. Hebert said 372 absentee ballots were issued and 366 were returned and tabulated, which is a high number compared to other elections. She said the support of the library brought out some voters, but she believed the council race and the support for write-in candidates Cindy Johnson, Anna Bass and Cal Howard was what inspired many to vote. She said the process of tallying the write-in votes was more time consuming than other elections, but overall things went well.

“It had to be the write-in candidates. We had 1,860 votes cast for them and that had to be what brought the people out.” Hebert said. “The night was long, but everything went smooth and the precinct workers did a great job. They not only had to count the write-in votes by hand, but also had to write all of the spelling variations for each candidate. They did super and there were no major issues.”

The Alpena County Board of Canvassers met Wednesday morning to approve the election and to make the count official. Friedrichs said out of the 1,860 ballots filled out for the write-in candidates, only 12 were disallowed. She said there were several reasons people’s votes didn’t count, but overall the candidates did a good job of explaining the write-in process to the voters.

“Voters overall did a good job and understood the process and filled out the ballots properly. The candidates did a good job of educating them, so they knew what they needed to do when they voted and they executed well,” Friedrichs said.

During past elections there have been some issues that have delayed vote count and results aren’t known until the early morning hours. Friedrichs said there was only one small issue and it had no impact on votes.

“There was a little issue with my computer where we couldn’t print off results, but we could still see everything and do our totals,” Friedrichs said. “The IT department took care of it quickly and there were no other issues.”

The city and county both have training for the precinct workers and those involved in the election process. Hebert said she got together with many of them before the election to remind them of some of the procedures and to stress how the write-in votes needed to be handled.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews. Read his blog, Upon Further Review … at