This article will explore the status of the election situation in Michigan and will shed light on the use of absentee ballots of Michigan during the primary election.
With only two months to go until the presidential election, the United States of America is presenting a scenario of a battleground where Joe Biden and Donald Trump are fighting to win the battle for the presidency.
Due to the rise of COVID-19, many states in the US are witnessing a rising trend in the use of absentee ballots.
More and more voters are keen to use the option of absent voter ballots instead of voting in person.
The primary election in Michigan was termed as both alarming and appalling by election officials.
Around 1.6 million voters requested absentee ballots of Michigan. And, of these, a considerable number were invalidated by election officials.
Absentee ballots of Michigan
The total number of registered voters in Michigan is estimated to be somewhat around 5.4 million.
Out of this huge number, the total turnout was only 2.5 million. There were a significant number of requests for absentee ballots of Michigan so that people could use their right to choose their representatives, and at the same time stay safe from COVID-19.
This high number made it difficult for the postal services and election officials to handle and manage the workload.
The State of Michigan allowed its voters to request a no-reason absentee ballot, through which they can vote by mail without having a recognized excuse to do so, such as serving overseas in the military. As a result, 1.6 million absentee ballot applications were received.
What Happened in Primary Election in Michigan?
The primary election in the state of Michigan was conducted on August 4. Amid the pandemic, no-reason absentee ballots were approved in Michigan, with a last day registration option.
As a result, a record number voted by absentee ballots, and more than three thousand voters registered to vote on Election Day itself.
The situation was chaotic, as a lot of people who had requested absentee voter ballots also came to vote in person.
Local clerks had a hard time managing this situation. Still, many ballots failed to reach the drop box by 8 pm on Election Day.
Voting by mail resulted in a chaotic situation that aroused some serious questions about the official results given by the clerk’s office.
Election officials termed the absentee ballots situation in Michigan as alarming and appalling. These comments came as 72% of absentee ballots counts were incorrect in Michigan’s largest city, Detroit.
A statement from the clerk’s office stated that the problem was caused by workers who had been on-site working for more than twenty hours, and so were too tired to carry out the job properly.
The number of votes placed in the poll book was different from the number of ballots counted. Two problems lead to this horrific situation.
First, the election officials failed to properly report the ballots when they were received.
Second, the ballots that arrived on Election Day were not properly marked in the poll books.
Additionally, the situation was further complicated as more than 10,000 absentee ballots of Michigan were rejected.
According to the data from election officials, more than 6,400 absentee ballots were rejected as they came after the Election Day.
Within this rejection of 10,000 votes, it also includes 2,225 people who voted by absentee ballot but failed to properly sign the envelopes or did not sign it at all.
Then, another 1,111 votes in Michigan were rejected, as the voters had moved out of the state. Finally, 846 more ballots got rejected as the voters had died after submitting their absentee voter ballot.
The situation of the absentee ballot of Michigan was better than New York and California but was not satisfying enough.
The issue in Detroit showed that staff is not good enough to handle such a huge volume in a short period of time.
The presidential elections are just two months away and the election office is considering using the option of mail-in ballots for the presidential race.
Now imagine a situation in which a huge number of absentee ballots are rejected and invalidated; the country will fall into political chaos. Many candidates will reject the elections and will take to the streets to protest and claim that the election was rigged.
The failures in New York, California, and now Michigan have already sparked confusion among voters and candidates.
A country already going through the worst phase of its history, with thousands dying and millions affected by COVID-19 with each passing week, cannot afford political chaos.
The need is to train the election staff and pursue options that could reduce the risk as much as possible. If not managed properly, the 2020 election would be a disaster and a huge shock for American democracy.