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Many absentee voters abstain from election

A lot more ballots went out than were returned for last week’s elections in Houghton County. Keweenaw Report reached out to City of Houghton Clerk Ann Vollrath and Hancock’s Linda Kalinec, both of whom highlighted the issue.

The only item on the ballot in Houghton was the county-wide millage renewal for Canal View, but Hancock had a second millage measure in play regarding the city’s Recreation Fund. Kalinec says around one-in-five mailings sent out never came back.

Of the ballots that we sent out, there was about 20 percent that were not returned. We’ve talked about that. I’m not sure why that would’ve happened.

The August election was never going to match last November’s turnout, given the high profile race at the top of the card. However, last Tuesday’s turnout is not significantly different from what was seen in Houghton County in 2017, the last time we were in this part of the cycle. The only measure on the ballot then was one regarding the Copper Country Intermediate School District, which passed comfortably. That stands in stark contrast to the presidential contest, when turnout surged nationwide compared to the previous election.

Kalinec says the share of ballots that were completed absentee remains significantly above pre-COVID levels.

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