Absentee voting up in Iron County
October 31, 2020
By TOM LAVENTURE
Iron County — Thursday was the last day for Wisconsin residents to request an absentee ballot, and Friday was the last day to register to vote or to vote early in-person, according to city clerks for Hurley, Montreal and Mercer.
Collectively the three cities have sent out 1,329 absentee voting ballot requests for the Nov. 3 election and so far 1,128 of them have been returned. The numbers are more than three times the absentee ballot requests for the 2016 general election.
“Absentee ballots need to be received by the time the polls close on Tuesday,” Kathy Osterman, deputy clerk and treasurer for the city of Hurley.
Voters who have registered and were sent requested absentee ballots may continue to drop them off to the clerk’s office of the Hurley City Hall building at 405 5th Ave. N., or if the office is closed, in the Hurley Public Library book return box outside of the city hall building, Osterman said. The only polling place for Hurley in-person voting on Election Day, Nov. 3, is at the Hurley City Hall.
In Hurley, there were 473 absentee ballots mailed out for next week’s election, which is 190% more than the 163 absentee ballots sent out for the 2016 presidential election, she said. So far 369 or 78% of the 2020 election ballots have been mailed or dropped off at the clerk’s office to be tabulated on Election Day.
Over in Montreal there will be weekend in-person voting of absentee ballots by appointment only, said Susan Lesky, city clerk and treasurer. There is no absentee voting on Monday. The Election Day polling place is the Montreal City Hall.
Voters may request and vote an absentee ballot in-person in their municipal clerk’s office through Nov. 1, she said. Office hours vary by municipality and voters should call ahead as some municipal offices require arrangements due to the pandemic and others may not offer additional in-person absentee hours, she said.
The city of Montreal has 228 absentee ballots issued as of 6 a.m. Friday. So far, 180 (78.9%) of the ballots have been returned.
Mercer voters who have not already mailed in their absentee voting ballot can drop them off to the clerk at the town hall office at 2657W Railroad St. during business hours, said Beth Wetzler, the deputy town clerk. The town hall drop box is a slot near the entrance for after-hours ballots.
“We do not have weekend hours,” Wetzler said.
Absentee ballots can be returned to the town hall office or drop box until Tuesday at 8 a.m., she said. Voters still with absentee ballots on Election Day should bring them to the polling station at the Mercer Community Center between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.
“Voters may register to vote at the polling place on Tuesday,” Wetzler said. “We have implemented social distancing and sanitation procedures to make voting safe and efficient.”
The township post office box will be checked several times on Election Day, she said. The Mercer post office staff informed the township staff that any ballots that come in on Election Day will be hand delivered to the community center.
“All absentee ballots must be in by 8 p.m. on Nov. 3,” Wetzler said. “Postmarks do not count if the ballots are received later than 8 p.m. Nov. 3.”
As of Thursday the town of Mercer had 628 absentee ballot requests to include 486 ballots that were mailed out and 142 ballots that were completed by people who came to the town hall office in-person. With 579 (92.1%) of ballots returned that just leaves 49 ballots remaining.
“In 2016 there were a total of 213 absentee votes,” Wetzler said. “The total voter count was 1,008.”
The Mercer clerk’s office will be open Monday, Nov. 2. If anyone has questions about their absentee ballot or voting stop by or call 715-476-2403.
“We just want to thank everyone for all their questions and for taking the time to make sure their vote counts,” Wetzler said. “The office will not be open on Election Day, as the staff and volunteers will be at the polling place.”
Voters may check on the status of their absentee ballot, as well as their registration status online at /myvote.wi.gov/en-us.