The Michigan Secretary of State’s mass mailing of Absentee Voter Applications for the August 4 Primary Election, along with the COVID-19 virus, put a very large burden on local township clerks.

Your local clerks rose to the challenge and came out with flying colors, but not so for the US Postal service. I for one sent absentee voter (AV) ballots to 400 of our township residents who requested them— 297 were returned before the election, 27 were returned on election day and 76 ballots were never returned in time to be counted. The day after the election five were returned by mail, of which four were postmarked July 29 and the other July 31. They were not counted!

Recently a resident brought in the original ballot that was sent to him on July 2 and he never received it until August 14. It was not counted!

Another aspect of elections is your tax dollars. Every ballot applied for and not returned not only costs the township to process and mail but you vote was never counted!

For those of you who do not know how your AV ballot is processed, here’s how your local clerks make sure your ballot is counted and is secure:

•Upon receiving your signed application, your signature is verified and the date received is posted to the state QVF (Qualified Voter File).

•When we receive the ballots from the county, they are immediately folded and inserted, along with an instruction sheet, secrecy sleeve and return envelope, with your name and address already printed next to where your signature is required. The outside mailing envelope containing your ballot is mailed to you. The date mailed to you and the ballot number is posted to the state QVF.

•You may return your voted ballot in the return envelope—which you have signed—either in person or the secure drop box at the township or city hall as soon as you can. If you return your ballot by mail, please mail it early!

•Upon receiving your voted ballot, we verify your signature and post the date received to the QVF. Your signed application is attached and filed in a secured location until the day of the election.

•On Election Day the election workers open the AV envelopes and process the ballot through the tabulator just as if you were there.

Make your vote count on every election day and if you’re voting absentee, do it early!

—Beverly K. Brown,
Emmett Township Clerk