ALPENA - Alpena County Clerk Bonnie Friedrichs is preparing for an Aug. 6 election in District No. 8, where a commissioner will be elected to replace Rick Fortier, who died on March 15.
There still is uncertainty about whether the election must be this summer or delayed until November. Currently, there is a bill in Lansing that, if passed, will not require elections for deceased officials until a general election.
Friedrichs said she has not heard anything from her contacts in Lansing or received any correspondence containing updates on the bill. She said until otherwise informed she must prepare to have an election for District No. 8, which is Ossineke Township and Sanborn Township.
She said her office is waiting for people to submit the needed information to be put it on the ballot, but to this point nobody has filed. Currently Eric Lawson of Ossineke Township is holding the seat after being appointed by the seven remaining commissioners. Lawson said he intends to run for the seat, but as of now he has yet to file.
"As it stands now it is going to be in August," Friedrichs said. "We are accepting the information from candidates until the deadline on May 14. In order to be on the ballot the candidate must bring in the petition with three to 10 signatures from registered voters in the district, as well as an affidavit of identity and a statement of organization."
Friedrichs said she estimates the cost of the election would be about $5,000-$6,000 in all. If the bill in Lansing were to pass, however, the commissioner's race would be added to the ballot of November's general election at no additional cost. She said for now all the county can do is wait to see if any action is taken on the proposed law change and plan on having an election.
"I get regular emails from the Bureau of Elections that lets us know when things are passed that may affect us," she said. "The county clerk's association also has a lobbyist in Lansing that keeps us current on any changes."
Besides the commissioner's race there will be two seats available for the Alpena Montmorency Alcona Educational Service District. Thus far, only Ralph Stepaniak has submitted his intent to fill one of the vacant positions. Friedrichs said the election of the two new board members will be determined after a special ballot is made and presented to the members on the intermediate school board, who will hold a vote amongst themselves.
For more information, contact the Alpena County Clerk's Office at 354-9520.
Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews. Read his blog, Upon Further Review ... at www.thealpenanews.com.