Cheshire’s deputy clerk replaces late husband on ballot

By: 
Ryan Lewis, editor

One week after being appointed to fill out the remainder of her late husband’s term as Cheshire Township clerk, Donna Hetzel will also replace him on the ballot.

Pete Hetzel was the longtime clerk there and passed away July 10, after ballots for the Aug. 4 election had already been printed. He was running unopposed for the GOP nomination.

State election law dictates that the Allegan County GOP executive committee needed to select a new nominee. GOP chair Mike VanDenBerg confirmed they selected Donna Hetzel, the township’s longtime deputy clerk, last Wednesday.

Allegan County Clerk Bob Genetski said his office has printed new ballots for the township. Absent voter ballots will be re-sent to the 198 individuals who had already requested them, even for those AV ballots already cast—68, as of July 16.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the family and loved ones of longtime Cheshire Township Clerk Pete Hetzel,” Genetski said. “As well, my office is working hard to make sure that the township voters have the opportunity to obtain a new ballot updated with the new nominee’s name.”

A total of 342 ballots were cast in Cheshire during the March 10 Presidential Primary.

He said, “We are working closely with the township to make sure that every voter who has already returned a ballot receives a new one and that those waiting for absentee ballots are mailed theirs as soon as possible.”

The Allegan County Elections Division pays for the new ballots. Cheshire Township covers the cost of envelopes and the postage.

Genetsi said a note explaining the change and the reason for the new ballot will be sent to everyone who has requested an absentee ballot. He emphasized that every voter’s ballot will be counted; votes on newly printed ballots will supersede a voter’s original ballot. Votes on the original ballot for the Cheshire clerk position for a Republican will not be counted.

Hetzel will face a contest on the November ballot from Democrat Robin LaDuke, also running unopposed on Aug. 4.

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