Secretary of State
Michigan has adopted many national best practices to strengthen our system and ensure our elections are accurate and secure:
By mailing applications to vote by mail (absentee) to all voters on the voter registration list, the state is advancing the multi-year process required by federal law to clean the list.
If a person receives an application that is addressed to someone who no longer lives in their residence or is deceased, they are advised to mark the envelope as such and place it back in the mail so that the process of updating the registration list continues. In this way, the statewide mailing of applications will improve the voter list, as election clerks will be able to use mail that has been returned to clean the registration list following the appropriate verification and waiting period.
It is important to note that mailed applications that are submitted must have a signature that matches the signature on the registration list to be considered valid and prompt the mailing of an actual ballot (subsequently, ballot envelopes must also be signed with matching signatures). Forging someone else’s signature on an application and submitting it to receive a ballot is a crime, often prosecuted as a felony. It is rarely attempted. The mailing of applications by the government does not make it easier to commit such a crime, as the applications are also mailed by both political parties and many other organizations ahead of most elections. For years, the application form has also been freely available online for download.
This year, perhaps more than any other, voters will be inundated by efforts to confuse them – about the election process, their rights, and the issues at stake. These efforts – be they foreign, domestic, partisan, or simply malicious – are designed to sow mistrust in our elections process and are antithetical to a healthy democracy.
Fighting back against them is critical to ensuring our elections are a secure and accurate reflection of the will of the people.