Secretary of State calls for change after 10,000 August primary mail-in ballots were rejected

Nearly 10,700 absentee ballots were rejected for the August primary in Michigan.
Nearly 10,700 absentee ballots were rejected for the August primary in Michigan.(WILX)
Published: Aug. 14, 2020 at 5:11 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - Nearly 10,700 Michigan voters tried to take part in the August primary election but their ballots were rejected.

Now, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson is calling for change to reduce that number.

She provided figures on Friday showing more than 6,400 absentee ballots statewide were rejected because they were returned after the deadline of 8 p.m. Aug. 4. An additional 2,200 absentee ballots were rejected due the lack of a signature or having the wrong signature.

“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,” Benson said. “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.”

She reiterated calls for the Legislature to allow clerks to count ballots postmarked by Election Day that arrive up to two days after the election and allow local clerks to contact voters if the signature on their ballot doesn’t match the one on file.

Benson could not say how many of the late ballots for the August primary arrived within the two-day time frame she is hoping to establish for future elections.

The remainder of rejected ballots were due to the voter moving, dying, canceling their ballot, not returning the ballot, lack of identification and becoming incarcerated.

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