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SOS Benson: Rejected absentee ballot data from Nov. 3 election shows integrity of election

person dropping absentee ballot into ballot box
Jodi Westrick
Michigan Radio

In total, 15,302 absentee ballots were rejected in Michigan's November 3 election, according to figures released Wednesday by Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson.

That's a rejection rate of 0.46%, or less than half of one percent of the record breaking 3.3 million absentee ballots cast.

In comparison, about 1.6 million absentee ballots were cast in the August primary election, and 10,600 of them were rejected.

In a written statement, Benson said the figures demonstrate the integrity of the election, the tireless work of local election clerks, and the success of voter education efforts.

"I am extremely proud of the 1,600 clerks across the state who embraced the record setting turnout including more than double the number of absentee ballots ever cast in a Michigan election and vigilantly ensured that all valid ballots were counted," said Benson.

"It is also gratifying that our voter education efforts, alongside those of countless other nonpartisan organizations, in addition to the installation of secure ballot drop boxes across the state, combined to dramatically reduce the rate of voter disenfranchisement due to late submission and signature errors."

Approximately 4,000 absentee ballots were rejected in November because the voter had moved to another Michigan jurisdiction before Election Day.

The next most common cause of rejection was when a voter, who had already cast an absentee ballot, died before Election Day. Close to 3,500 ballots fell into that category.

About 3,300 absentee ballots were rejected because they arrived after 8 p.m. on Election Day. That's down from the 6,405 that were rejected for being late in the August primary.

Signature problems were the next highest cause of absentee ballot rejection: 1,852 were tossed out for no signature and 1,400 because the signature on the ballot did not match the one on file.

These figures do not include people who cured their signature problems by the voting deadline, according to a department spokesperson.

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Virginia Gordan has been a part-time reporter at Michigan Radio since fall 2013. She has a general beat covering news topics from across the state.
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