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absentee ballot

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The leaders of three dozen major Michigan-based companies, including General Motors and Ford, have announced their objection to Republican-sponsored election bills that would make it harder to vote in Michigan and other states.

 

michigan absentee ballot
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson put out guidance to county and local clerks for signature matching on absentee ballots in October, prior to the 2020 election. Now, a Court of Claims judge has ruled that guidance to be invalid.

In October, Benson said that a signature on an absentee ballot should be presumed valid unless it differed “in multiple, significant and obvious respects from the signature on file.”

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Two men are facing charges of  making election-related threats against three Michigan officials.

U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin and Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephens received the alleged threatening messages.

The Michigan Attorney General’s office says 62-year-old Daniel Thompson of Harrison left voicemail and email messages with Sen. Stabenow’s office. He allegedly also made calls to Rep. Slotkin’s’ office.   Prosecutors allege Thompson used vulgar and threatening language referencing the 2020 election.

President Joe Biden
The White House / whitehouse.gov

Today on Stateside, President Joe Biden signed a stack of executive orders on his first day in office, including an end to President Donald Trump’s travel ban on a number of countries with large Muslim populations. A reporter discusses the state's Muslim American communities’ responses to the controversial ban’s reversal. Also, a look at the debate over absentee ballots — during the American Civil War. Plus, a grocery store tackles food insecurity in Grand Rapids with tools from social justice.

Judge's gavel
Flickr user Joe Gratz / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

 

 

It was an election year in a divided America. Tens of thousands of absentee ballots were sent out by the state. Eventually, the Michigan Supreme Court weighed in. 

 

No, we’re not talking about the 2020 election, but rather the presidential election of 1864. It was a contest between Abraham Lincoln of the Republican Party and former General George B. McClellan of the Democratic Party.

 

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Supreme Court won’t hear a case challenging the Secretary of State’s decision to mail absentee ballot applications to voters. 

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson mass mailed the applications to registered voters across the state. A Highland Park activist, Robert Davis, sued because he was concerned the unsolicited applications were unlawful and candidates could challenge votes because of that.

person dropping absentee ballot into ballot box
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

In total, 15,302 absentee ballots were rejected in Michigan's November 3 election, according to figures released Wednesday by Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson.

That's a rejection rate of 0.46%, or less than half of one percent of the record breaking 3.3 million absentee ballots cast.

In comparison, about 1.6 million absentee ballots were cast in the August primary election, and 10,600 of them were rejected.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

“Stop the vote! Stop the vote!”

That was one of the chants outside Detroit’s TCF Center on Wednesday afternoon, where election workers were still hard at work counting the city’s absentee votes.

absentee ballot and envelope
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, we talk about how ready state officials and local clerks are for Election Day. Also, we'll hear about the issues shaping Latino voters’ opinions on the 2020 presidential race.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Poll workers are pre-processing absentee ballots in some Michigan cities ahead of Tuesday’s election under a new law.

More than 2.9 million ballots have already been cast in Michigan.

More than 30,000 poll workers have been recruited for this year’s election.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

With one week to go before Election Day, a Secretary of State office spokesman says two out of every three absentee ballots Michiganders requested have already been returned to local clerk’s offices.

Unsplash

This Election Day is likely to be a bit different from those of years past: State election officials have been warning voters that it’s possible we won’t know the outcome of the presidential election and all the down-ballot races by election night. That’s because there’s been an increase in absentee voting, which is allowed for all Michigan voters and offers a safe alternative to voting in person during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Voting errors a bigger risk than voter fraud in Michigan

Oct 21, 2020
voting stickers
Unsplash

President Trump and many of his supporters have called into question the validity of voting by mail. But documented instances of voting fraud are few and far between. Rather than fraud, perhaps absentee voters should be focused on following the rules.

Here in Michigan, Macomb County GOP Chair Mark Forton says his faith that President Trump will be re-elected is limited by just one thing.

straight-party voting
Lars Plougmann

More than half of the three million requested absentee ballots have already been cast, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said at a press conference on Tuesday. 

Benson said that voters have received nearly all of the three million absentee ballots they have requested with two weeks left to go before Election Day. 

"When you reflect on the fact that just under 4.8 million voted in the November 2016 election, the fact that two weeks out, already three million are on track to vote early in this election is just extraordinary," said Benson, predicting that the number of absentee ballot requests will continue to climb.

person dropping absentee ballot into ballot box
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Election Day is now just two weeks away and Monday was the last day for Michiganders to register to vote.

Any eligible Michigan voter can register online or by mail

If you are not registered by the end of Monday, you can still register in-person at your city or township clerk's office through Election Day. When you register in-person, you can also request to vote early, fill out your ballot, and return it all in one visit.

A maks on top of an absentee ballot envelope
Unsplash

In the middle of a pandemic, a lot of voters are planning to cast their vote via absentee ballot. It's a fairly simple process (which you can learn more about here). You fill out your ballot, put it in the mail, track it to your local clerk’s office where it will be counted come Election Day. But between November 2018 and August 2020, the ACLU of Michigan says there were around 35,000 people who thought they had voted, but actually had their absentee ballots rejected. The organization has been sending letters out to those voters to let them know what went wrong, and how to avoid it this time around. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Two men are facing criminal charges as part of an effort to allegedly suppress the vote in next month’s election in Michigan.  

Michigan’s attorney general’s office alleges political operatives Jack Burkman and Jacob Wohl attempted to discourage voters from participating in the general election by creating and funding a robocall targeted at certain urban areas, including Detroit.

Specifically, the robocall call claims police, the CDC and credit card companies will use mail-in ballots to track down people.

absentee ballot
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

The Legislature’s Republican leaders are challenging a court decision that says mailed-in votes that are postmarked by November 2 must be counted. That’s even if they arrive after Election Day.

That decision came last month from a Michigan Court of Claims judge. She said ballots that arrive within two weeks of Election Day must be included in the total. That’s due in part to the surge in absentee voting this year due to COVID-19.

Unsplash

During the first debate between President Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, President Trump raised questions about the safety and integrity of elections this November. But Michigan clerks and election officials have said for months now that they have no such fears--rather, their primary concern is whether they can produce results in a timely manner on Election Day, as the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to lead to a significant increase in absentee voting.

absentee ballot
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

There is a swirl of litigation already surrounding the November election and absentee ballots. Two former Republican secretaries of state have added their names to the mix with a lawsuit filed with the U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids. Terri Lynn Land and Ruth Johnson want a judge to set a hard deadline of 8 p.m. election night for absentee ballots to arrive with local clerks, or else they cannot be counted.

Their lawsuit disputes a decision by a Michigan Court of Claims judge that ballots must be counted if they are postmarked by the day before the November 3 election and arrive before the results are certified 14 days later.

absentee ballot
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Absentee voting began Thursday in Michigan.

Absentee ballots were put in the mail to people who requested them. Registered voters can also stop by clerks’ offices to fill out their ballots.

In a web conference with progressive activists, Governor Gretchen Whitmer noted the election in Michigan was very close in 2016.

absentee ballot
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

This year, absentee ballots are all the rage.

Michigan voters passed a ballot measure in 2018 that allows for no-reason absentee voting. Now, in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused ballot requests to skyrocket. 

Starting September 24, local clerks will begin to send ballots to the 2.39 million Michiganders who have already requested them. That beats the previous record of two million ballot requests, which was just set in August.

absentee ballot
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

This has been a lingering controversy – when is the cutoff for absentee votes to be counted?

Republicans have argued that any ballots that arrive after the polls closed should not be counted. Democrats say anything postmarked before polls close election night should be included.

An absentee ballot dropped in the mail no later than the day before the November 3rd elections must be counted. That decision came down Friday from a state Court of Claims judge.

Unsplash

On Stateside, the state Senate passed a bill this week that allows local and county clerks to begin preparing absentee ballots a day ahead of the election. We check in with two clerks on whether the state's election system is ready for a potential wave of absentee ballots as November approaches. Also, a Detroit Free Press reporter updates on the Big Ten’s decision to resume football this fall. Plus, a look at the legacy of the first Black faculty member at the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre, and Dance.

absentee ballot
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Senate adopted a bill Tuesday that would allow many local governments to prepare absentee ballots the day before Election Day. They could then be opened and counted starting on Election Day.

That rule would only apply to cities of 25,000 or more residents.

Local clerks say that alone could shave hours off the process of tallying the ballots.

Jocelyn Benson
Benson for Secretary of State

The Michigan Department of State is notifying millions of potential Michigan voters how to register and cast ballots in the November election. The mailings are expected to arrive in people's mailboxes within a week or so, according to the Department's press release.

Letters are on their way to about 700,000 Michiganders who have a Michigan driver's license or state ID and who are eligible to vote but not yet registered in Michigan. The letters explain how to register and how to apply for an absentee ballot.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Bills to punish anyone who tries to use other people’s personal information to get and return absentee ballots are under discussion at the state Capitol.

The COVID-19 pandemic is driving many Michiganders to take advantage of state laws giving more access to absentee ballots. The August primary saw a record number of absentee ballots cast.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A letter is fueling a dispute over how the city of Flint handles elections.

After the August primary, Genesee County Election Supervisor Doreen Fulcher sent a letter to Flint City Clerk Inez Brown outlining problems with how the city processed votes. The letter was sent from County Clerk John Gleason’s office. 

ballot
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

As the presidential election gets closer, many people are paying close attention to how the race is shaping up in the Midwest, including here in Michigan. The state, which President Donald Trump won by less than 11,000 votes in 2016, is seen as a key swing state this election.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson is calling on the Legislature to change the law to allow mailed in ballots to be counted if they’re postmarked by Election Day. Right now, if a ballot is received after 8 p.m. Election Day, it’s not counted. In the recent primary election, Benson said many voters were disenfranchised because of the current law.

That's 6,400 voters who did everything right. They mailed their ballots in on time. It was postmarked prior to Election Day. And yet because of our law, they were not able to be counted,” Benson said.

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