More than 10,000 absentee ballots were rejected in Michigan primary

More than 8,600 arrived too late or had problems with signature verification.

Updated: August 16, 2020 - 12:09pm

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More than 10,000 absentee ballots did not count during Michigan's recent primary, the state announced. 

Around 10,600 absentee primary ballots were rejected, Michigan's Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson's office wrote in a press release. Of that number, 846 were because the voter died before election day, but after casting an absentee ballot.

The lion's share of rejected ballots, more than 8,600, were because they arrived too late or because of signature verification problems.

Benson is advocating for legislative action ahead of the upcoming general election.

“The data demonstrates that thousands of people who cast otherwise valid votes were not able to participate in last week’s election solely because the Legislature failed to act ahead of the primary,” Benson said. “With turnout and absentee ballot numbers expected to double or even triple in November, we could be looking at tens of thousands of Michigan citizens disenfranchised if the legislature again fails to act.”

The press release lists two pieces of legislation: "HB 5987 would allow mailed ballots to count if postmarked by Election Day even if they arrive up to two days later;" and "HB 5991 would require clerks to contact voters if the signature on the absentee ballot does not match the one on their registration."

Absentee voting is likely to play a pivotal role during the 2020 general election as the U.S. continues grappling with the coronavirus pandemic.

So far there have been more than 5.3 million COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and more than 169,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.