A blue stripe on the envelopes signifies that the ballot should be sent to a voter. The envelopes with a green stripe specify that only the precinct or absentee voter ballot counting board should open the envelope.

A blue stripe on the envelopes signifies that the ballot should be sent to a voter. The envelopes with a green stripe specify that only the precinct or absentee voter ballot counting board should open the envelope.

Images provided by City Clerk Mary Kotowski


Absentee ballots to be in newly designed envelopes in St. Clair Shores

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published September 30, 2019

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — Residents voting by absentee ballot will notice something a little different this election cycle: the envelope.

St. Clair Shores is test-piloting new absentee voter envelopes that work better with automated postal systems and are compatible with U.S. Postal Service standards for the November general election.

“It’s still the same absentee ballot (with) simpler directions on it, more concise directions,” St. Clair Shores City Clerk Mary Kotowski said.

The change comes from the move from the former “craft brown” envelope to a white envelope with a blue stripe on the side that will arrive at voters’ homes. The envelope that gets sent back to the City Clerk’s Office will have a green stripe.

“This is going to be the standard, statewide, in the March election, but I wanted to get voters used to it,” Kotowski explained. “I don’t want them to think it’s junk mail, that they’re throwing it away because they’re used to that brown paper, so it is going to be different.”

Kotowski served on Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s Election Modernization Advisory Committee, which worked to make the wording on absentee ballots more concise and easy to understand. As new standards are adopted across the country, the blue stripe will mean that the envelope should be delivered to a resident and the green stripe that it could go to a municipal clerk, making it easier for the U.S. Postal Service as well, Kotowski said.

Ballots will begin to be delivered to residents who have requested an absentee ballot the week of Oct. 7. Residents wishing to know the status of their ballot can go to michigan.gov/vote.

Kotowski said that she encourages residents to allow seven days for a ballot to make it back to her office if they are sending it via U.S. mail. Absentee ballots can also be dropped in the white mailbox in front of City Hall, 27600 Jefferson Ave., or brought to the city clerk’s counter in City Hall.

“More than half the ballots come back by residents walking in or using that drop box,” Kotowski said.

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