As controversy continues to form around the 2020 Presidential Election, many local residents seem to have opted to vote absentee for the recent primary, and the numbers show similar trends for the general election in the fall.
According to a July Detroit Free Press article by Paul Egan, over 22,000 voters have requested absentee ballots of which 60% have been returned. The total number of absentee ballots sent out for the 2016 Presidential election was 5,500.
Michigan State student and Ingham County resident Cassy Landes said she knew “no matter what I wanted to vote in this election” so voting absentee was the only choice.
“I thought about it (voting absentee), but I never seriously considered it until COVID reared its ugly head,” Landes said. “A lot of people brush off any election that isn’t presidential. But I’ve come to realize that all government positions are supposed to represent us … so if I, and others like me, don’t vote, how can they represent us?”
Ingham County resident Gabby Hehl said while she hasn’t voted absentee before, she would be open to it this year.
“I think it would be more convenient, especially with all of this (COVID) going on,” Hehl said. “I think it (will) help the number of voters go up because as times change we are all looking for the convenient way to do things.”
President Donald Trump raised his concerns for voter fraud with mail-in ballots. On July 21, Trump tweeted, “Mail-In Voting, unless changed by the courts, will lead to the most CORRUPT ELECTION in our Nation’s History!”
Landes said fraudulent votes are not her primary concern when it comes to voting absentee, it is voter diligence and the government’s ability to process all of the ballots.
“If someone forgets to sign the back or if USPS didn’t put a timestamp on the ballot, they could all be deemed unusable and that is what concerns me,” Landes said. “Governments aren’t properly equipped to handle the vast majority of mail-in ballots coming in.”
In a July 29 press conference, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson addressed these concerns.
“I’m confident that our state, and many others, are doing everything we need to do to prepare to secure our elections so that voters can have confidence in their results,” Benson said. “But it is a partnership. We need voters, as well, to take seriously their responsibility to get verifiable information about candidates and elections so that efforts to hack their minds are unsuccessful as well.”
Voters can still register for an absentee ballot for the 2020 Presidential Election on the Michigan Voter Registration Center at https://mvic.sos.state.mi.us/