Attention Readers
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, C & G Newspapers has temporarily suspended its print publications. We look forward to resuming our print operation in the coming weeks. In the meantime, continue to find local news on our website and look for us on Facebook and Twitter. We hope you stay healthy and safe.

Printing errors to blame for returned absentee ballots, SOS says

By: Tiffany Esshaki | C&G Newspapers | Published February 24, 2020

 Michigan’s absentee ballots were recently designed with different colors and features to help voters differentiate the pieces — the envelope the ballot comes in and the envelope meant to hold the ballot on its way back to the local clerk’s office.

Michigan’s absentee ballots were recently designed with different colors and features to help voters differentiate the pieces — the envelope the ballot comes in and the envelope meant to hold the ballot on its way back to the local clerk’s office.

Advertisement

OAKLAND COUNTY — Michigan’s absentee ballots were recently designed with different colors and features to help voters differentiate the pieces — the envelope the ballot comes in and the envelope meant to hold the ballot on its way back to the local clerk’s office.

According to representatives from the Oakland County Clerk’s Office and the Michigan Secretary of State’s Office, the redesign is working really well for voters.

Machines, however, are having a tough go.

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s office tweeted early last week that they had received complaints from residents who said they had completed and mailed their absentee ballots to the appropriate office, only to have them sent back.

“We have received reports that occasionally absentee ballots have been returned to the voter by (the U.S. Postal Service). We have communicated with USPS and clerks, and this is likely due to a technology error,” reads the department’s Feb. 15 tweet.

Jake Rollow, the director of communications and external affairs for Benson, said the error appears to be in the way some envelopes were printed, making it difficult for mail machines to recognize and properly sort the ballots.

“Issues have come up when printers deviate from the new design template, causing confusion or technology issues,” he said. “Printers are contracted independently by the jurisdictions, so we have been supporting those jurisdictions in their conversations with printers and providing guidance to voters on what to do if their ballots are returned.”

He said that Benson’s office has reached out to the U.S. Postal Service to keep a lookout for ballots so they can be properly routed.

“If ballots are returned to voters, they should bring them to their clerk’s office, or if the mailing envelope has their clerk’s address on it, put it back in the mail,” Rollow said.

Asked whether the new design could confuse people, Rollow said the new design “actually works quite well.”

That was echoed earlier this month by Oakland County Clerk Lisa Brown.

“We haven’t gotten any calls about the ballots,” Nicole Bedi, an administrative assistant to the clerk, said in a previous interview. “We believe the education campaign for no-reason absentee (voting) has reached a lot of voters.”

A representative from the Michigan media room of the U.S. Postal Service did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

To learn more about the absentee ballots and other voting information in Oakland County, visit oakgov.org/clerkrod.

Advertisement