CBS Detroit – According to Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, over two-million Michiganders have submitted applications for absentee ballots. In 2018 the law was changed that allows for absentee voting for any reason. As many have fears over COVID-19, this has been driving the requests for absentee ballots according to the Detroit Free Press.
In the primary election in August, 1.6 million absentee ballots were sent in. For the presidential election in November they expect that number to double. Michigan Secretary of State Benson told the Free Press, “Even in the midst of a global pandemic, Michigan’s citizens enthusiastically want to vote, and are taking advantage of the numerous safe, secure, and reliable options they have to do so this year,”.
However, absentee voting on a mass scale has had its critics from Republicans, including President Trump. Touting that there exists more chance for election fraud. As many feel the absentee voter applications are being sent to vacant homes, deceased voters, or former residents according to an article in Bridge Michigan. Sarah Bydalek is the Republican clerk of Walker in Kent County. In July she told Bridge Michigan that “The cleaner you get it (voter lists), the better”. “we have people who should be canceled [from voter lists] but who aren’t.”
Bydalek went ono to say in 13 years as a clerk, she’s never found evidence of fraud. However, in Michigan, it’s reported that there more registered voters than eligible voters based on Census estimates of the citizen voting-age population. That includes 58 counties, of which include the largest ones except for Macomb County. While there exist some flawed lists with voters born over a hundred years ago, there hasn’t been much to indicate these deceased people are actually voting. Cleaning the rolls is tough because people are always moving, and no national clearinghouse exists to track voters who move to other states. Ohio on the other hand is one of the toughest if a voter misses an election, they are sent a letter asking if they wish to remain eligible.
Now in Michigan, you have the option if you want to be on a permanent absentee voter list. Which would make it so a ballot would be sent to you automatically after the primary. With the state receiving an additional 1.7 million requests since last August’s primary.
The Secretary of State’s office is also working to get the legislature to change the law so that the Secretary of State and clerks can start counting ballots before the election. This they say will allow clerks to better count and process ballots, making it easier to give more up-to-date results on election nights.
© 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Information from the Detroit Free Press and Bridge Michigan contributed to this report.