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Lansing is making absentee ballot drop boxes more available

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Posted at 6:20 AM, Sep 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-23 06:55:07-04

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson is encouraging people to drop off absentee ballots at local clerk drop boxes or clerks offices instead of mailing them.

Benson’s office said Tuesday at least 2.39 million voters requested absentee ballots for the Nov. 3 General Election.

Those ballots can be mailed starting Thursday. Lansing is sending more than 27,000 ballots to voters.

Lansing is making it easier for ballots to be dropped off by installing 15 new ballot drop boxes across the city. By Friday, 91% of Lansing voters will be within 1.5 miles from a drop box.

“So many more people are voting by absentee ballot. It’s really important to give them full options to return that ballot,” said Chris Swope, Lansing City Clerk.

In a year where election security is a top priority, Benson said it’s important voters have piece of mind no matter how they choose to vote.

She said there are going to be about a thousand more drop boxes across the state for the upcoming election.

“If nothing else, the uncertainty citizens have about whether if they choose to vote by mail whether their ballot will be received in time to be counted,” said Benson.

Samantha Bailey plans to drop off her ballot in person instead of putting it in the mail because of issues she’s had with the post office.

“I sent (a card) to somebody who lives just on the other side of Jackson from me and it took over a month to get there,” Bailey said.

FOX 47 did ask the United States Postal Service to explain how mail gets from neighborhood mailboxes to the elections office, but a spokeswoman said they are not doing any interviews.

The spokeswoman instead issued a statement reassuring the post office can handle the extra ballots.

USPS said ballots would be about three-quarters of its daily mail everyone voted by mail.

It also said there will be standby resources available starting Oct. 1.

Absentee voters in Lansing are able to track their ballots through the mail if their email address is on file with the elections office.

“I’m confident we will be able to track down any issues with postal mail as well,” Swope said.

The ballot drop boxes in Lansing will be emptied daily so ballots aren’t sitting for days. They are also under surveillance.

Other clerks are putting out more ballot drop boxes. For more information on election security, click here.

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