15,000 absentee ballots rejected in Michigan's general election. Here's why.

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More than 15,000 absentee ballots were rejected in the general election in Michigan because they weren’t submitted properly.

While that may seem like a lot of disqualified votes, the rejection rate was lower than in the past and demonstrates the integrity of Michigan’s election, the work of local clerks, and the success of voter education initiatives, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said.

With a record 3.3 million absentee ballots cast in November, the 15,303 disqualified votes represent a rejection rate of just 0.46% — or fewer than one of every 500 votes. For context, Joe Biden defeated Trump in Michigan by more than 154,000.

“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,” Benson said. “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.”

Clerks rejected 4,090 absentee ballots because the voter moved to another jurisdiction before Election Day. An additional 3,469 ballots were rejected because the voter died before Election Day.

Clerks also tossed 3,328 ballots because they arrived after the 8 p.m. deadline on Nov. 3. Another 1,852 ballots were rejected for lacking a signature, and 1,400 were thrown out for having a mismatched signature.

An additional 1,015 ballots were tossed because the voter’s registration was canceled before Election Day.

Detroit, the state’s largest city, had the most rejected ballots — 1,432.

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About The Author

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling is an award-winning investigative journalist who operated Motor City Muckraker, an online news site devoted to exposing abuses of power and holding public officials accountable. Neavling also hosted Muckraker Report on 910AM from September 2017 to July 2018. Before launching Motor City Muckraker,...
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