(Source: MIRS.news, Published 06/17/2022) Local clerks are preparing primary absentee ballots for distribution as soon as next week in some areas of Michigan, but Secretary of State officials said Friday they are not planning to send out unsolicited absentee ballots to everyone in Michigan as they did during the 2020 election.
Aneta Crisp, Secretary of State spokesperson, said the department has encouraged local clerks to proactively mail absentee request forms to the voters in their jurisdictions, as well as non-profits and other organizations that mail forms.
“2020 was the first statewide election cycle in which every voter had the right to vote absentee, and educating voters about that right was critical, particularly in the early stages of the pandemic when there was a need to ensure Michigan citizens knew they had a safe and secure option to vote from home,” Crisp said.
The issue of absentee ballot application mailing became a contentious issue during the 2020 election cycle after many states, Michigan among them, mass sent absentee ballot applications. The practice gave rise to claims in conservative circles about widespread election fraud, while Democrats equated the logical disconnect by noting that receiving a credit card application doesn't mean you have a credit card.
The Secretary of State website states that under 2018's Proposal 3, all voters in Michigan have the right to vote absentee for any reason, and only by submitting an application can that voter be issued a ballot.
Nonetheless, Michigan Republicans have tried to limit the ability of the Secretary of State to only send applications to voters who ask for them.
Sen. Ed McBroom (R-Waucedah Twp.), who authored a report on the absence of any widespread election fraud in 2020, told Michael Patrick Shiels on Michigan’s Big Show Friday that the biggest mistake he saw with the prior general election was the mass sending of the absentee ballot applications to voter lists.
“That’s why our homes got applications for people who hadn’t lived there for 10 years or longer,” McBroom told Shiels.
Michigan Freedom Fund Executive Director Tori Sachs is dubious COVID played any role in Benson's decision. She said there have been more COVID deaths in 2022 than when the absentee ballot applications were sent out in locked-down Michigan in 2020.
“Jocelyn Benson is easing off her illegal ballot application distribution when Democrats have record-low approval ratings, but still refusing to clean up the voter rolls like she is supposed to,” Sachs said.
The Secretary of State website says that the Qualified Voter File is updated each week using information from the Social Security Death Index to cancel voter registration for dead voters.