Did Your Absentee Ballot Count? Here’s How to Make Sure
(Crystal A. Proxmire, Oct. 17, 2018)
Oakland County, MI- Record numbers of absentee ballots are being sent out for the Nov. 6 election, but there are a couple of concerns among clerks and voters.
The first is that many people don’t realize that the ballots require extra postage to mail back in. It does say so on the envelope, but there are reports of people receiving theirs back for lack of postage. Two regular stamps are sufficient.
Secondly signatures that don’t match drivers’ licenses can also prevent ballots from being counted.
City Clerk of Rochester Hills Tina Creek Barton said there are record numbers of ballots this year. “We have already issued just under 11,000 as of October 16th – this number is outpacing the Presidential 2016 Election by 1,000 ballots,” she said in a recent press release.
“One important fact to note is that your local Clerk is required to check your signature on an absent voter ballot application, and on an absent voter ballot that is returned for voting. It is not uncommon to come across applications or ballots that have signatures that do not match. If the signature does not match the signature on your driver’s license on the State’s system, we go to considerable lengths to notify or get in contact with you. We call if we have a phone number on file. We send an email if we have an email address. We send a letter. I have even looked for applicants on social media and sent them a private message on their Twitter or Facebook accounts. Our hope is that you will respond to one of the notifications,” she said.
“How can you help your local Clerk and make sure that your application or ballot signature is not a problem? First, be consistent with your signature. Second, fill out the portion on the application that requests a phone number and email address to contact you at, should we need to. Third, track your ballot at https://webapps.sos.state.mi.us/MVIC/ This website will allow you to see if your ballot was sent, and if it has been marked received. We will not receive your ballot in the system if there is a problem with it. If you notice that it has not been marked received, please contact your local Clerk to make sure the ballot was delivered to them and to rule out any possible problems with the ballot.”
The City of Ferndale also released a graphic on social media. showing voters how to check on the state’s website if their ballot has been received. Residents of any community can contact their local clerk’s office if they have questions. (Graphic is posted below)
“As Clerks, we are fully invested in making sure that every eligible voter is able to cast a vote, and that every ballot issued counts. Help us do our job by thoroughly completing your application, tracking your ballot as it moves through the process, and alerting us if you have any concerns,” Barton said.
In Michigan there is not “no reason” absentee voting, although the issue is part of Michigan Proposal 3 this year. Currently you qualify for an absent voter ballot if you meet one of the following criteria: you are 60 years of age or older. You expect to be absent from the community in which you are registered for the entire time the polls are open on Election Day. You are physically unable to attend the polls without the assistance of another. You cannot attend the polls because of the tenets of your religion. You have been appointed as an election precinct inspector in a precinct other than the precinct where you reside. You cannot attend the polls because you are confined to jail awaiting arraignment or trial.
For more information on elections visit:
State of Michigan Secretary of State website
Oakland County Clerk website
Oakland County Times candidate interviews and issues page