Thousands of Primary Ballots Were Rejected in Michigan. Here's Why.

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Posted: Aug 24, 2020 6:20 PM
Thousands of Primary Ballots Were Rejected in Michigan. Here's Why.

Source: AP Photo/Brynn Anderson

On Aug. 4th, the Michigan Democratic Party held their statewide primary. Absentee ballots had to be returned that day in order to be counted.

According the The Detroit News, more than 6,400 of the 10,600 ballots were rejected because they weren't returned by Election Day. 

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson also said 2,225 ballots were trashed because the envelope was lacking a voter's signature. Another 1,111 were rejected because the voter changed residents and another 846 ballots were rejected because the voter was dead. 

Every month, the state receives information from the Social Security Administration about Michiganders who have died. This gives officials the ability to identify ballots that were fraudulently mailed.  

The state's largest city – Detroit – received 820 ballots that couldn't be counted because they were received too late. Another 452 ballots from Detroit were rejected because they lacked signatures or the signatures that were on the envelope didn't match the data the state had on record. Fifty-two others moved and 32 died after their ballots were sent. There was one convict who voted in Detroit, which was also rejected.

Benson wants to see the Michigan legislature pass a bill that would require clerks across the state to contact voters if there's an issue with their ballot, like a missing signature. She also wants ballots to count as long as they're postmarked before Election Day.

“The data demonstrates that thousands of people who cast otherwise valid votes were not able to participate in last week’s election solely because the Legislature failed to act ahead of the primary,” the Detroit Democrat said in a statement following the election. “With turnout and absentee ballot numbers expected to double or even triple in November, we could be looking at tens of thousands of Michigan citizens disenfranchised if the legislature again fails to act."

These are some of the issues states need to address as more move to voting by mail this election cycle. It's why the RNC has been big on making sure states have "tried and trued" absentee processes. Michigan is clearing out those votes based on SSA records, which is a step more states need to take.