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Elections bureau: Don’t mail, drop off absentee ballots

lansing election drop box
Sarah Lehr
/
WKAR News
A ballot drop box appears outside the Foster Community Center in Lansing on Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021.

More than a million absentee ballots have been dropped off with local clerks by voters who chose not to wait until Election Day.

Michigan Bureau of Elections spokesman Jake Rollow said Tuesday almost 2 million absentee ballots have been requested and roughly 1.1 million have been returned. About 3.3 million people used absentee voting two years ago in the presidential election, which typically has higher participation levels than the mid-terms.

It’s not required, but Rollow said in an online press conference that at this point it’s a good idea for voters to drop off ballots with local clerks instead of using the mail.

“We just feel that the best practice at one week before election day is to return absentee ballots by hand either to the voter’s clerk’s office or that voter’s drop box in their jurisdiction,” he said. That’s because the ballots have to arrive at local election offices no later than 8 p.m. on Tuesday of next week to be counted.

Rollow said the biggest concern is the threat posed by election disinformation and efforts to cast doubt on the results. He said that was a tough lesson learned after the elections two years ago.

“That has not ceased since the 2020 election,” he said. “And so we have spent the last couple years working to both understand how misinformation works, the impact it has on the public and the best ways to combat it.”

Rollow said that includes getting the word out on what’s allowed and not allowed at polling places and absentee ballot counting locations -- and also explaining the process for tallying votes.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.
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