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Slower mail delivery may prevent some absentee ballots from being counted

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

Time’s running out faster than you may think to mail an absentee ballot for next week’s election.     

Roughly half of the votes in some of next week’s elections are predicted to be cast absentee.  But some absentee votes won’t be counted.

Lansing city clerk Chris Swope says changes in the way the post office processes the mail is adding a day to the delivery of absentee ballots. 

The U.S. Post Office instituted the changes this year to the mail delivery standardas a way of saving money.    

“That’s definitely adding maybe a day longer than what it used to be,” says Swope. 

Swope says that means ballots mailed next Monday won’t get delivered until Wednesday, which is too late to be counted. State law requires absentee ballots to be delivered to the clerk’s office by 8pm election night. 

Lansing’s city clerk says his office received dozens of absentee ballots a day after the August primary, which meant they were too late to be counted. 

Swope worries the problem could be magnified next year. He says a presidential election year usually draws more voters and more people voting absentee. 

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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