Council okays mail-in votes for October election

In an attempt to increase voter turn­out, council has approved mail-in ballots as an alternative voting method in this fall’s municipal election.

“As returning officer for the Township of Mapleton, I feel it is important to assist and en­courage our electorate to vote in the municipal election,” clerk Patty Sinnamon told council last week.

She noted voter turnout in Mapleton for the 2003 election was just 23% and she is hopeful using mail in ballots will increase turnout to at least 40%. She said in her report voting by mail “allows people who are physically challenged and senior citizens to vote from their home without the added stress of long lineups, inclem­ent weather or knowing which polling station to vote at.”

Sinnamon proposed Data Fix prepare packages to be mailed to each elector, who would then follow the instructions and return the appropriate envelope by mail or deliver it to the township office.

She estimates the Data Fix cost will be about $10,890 which, when combined with costs for tabulating machines and other items, brings the total estimated cost for the Oct. 25 election to about $35,000.

Sinnamon said the intent was to use the same vote by mail process in the 2006 election but all councillors were acclaimed. Several municipalities in the county that did use the mail-in ballot four years ago experienced major problems with spoiled ballots.