Michigan election officials are encouraging voters to cast absentee ballots to reduce their potential exposure to COVID-19.
But flooding last month has complicated those efforts in Midland County.
The May 19 flood damaged or destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses. More than 10,000 people were forced to evacuate. Some Midland county residents are still living in campers, tents or with friends and relatives.
County Clerk Ann Manary says disrupted mail service in hard hit communities, like Sanford, has made it more difficult to get absentee applications and ballots to voters.
“We are trying our best. We have centralized locations now for people to pick their mail up for people who live in those affected areas,” says Manary, “But yes, that has slowed down their ability to get their applications at this point.”
Michigan’s Secretary of State Office sent absentee applications to all register voters in response to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.
County clerks report a sharp increase in people requesting absentee ballots.