Expanding Access to Mailed Ballots is the Right Step in Safeguarding Elections

DETROIT — All Voting is Local Michigan State Director Aghogho Edevbie issued the following statement in response to Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s announcement that all Michigan voters will be mailed an absentee ballot application for the August and November elections.

“We applaud Secretary Benson’s plan to mail absentee ballot applications to Michigan voters. This is a vital step toward ensuring free, fair, and safe elections for all Michigan voters amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“But this cannot be the only action. Local election officials should follow Benson’s lead by ensuring all voters have safe in-person options to cast a ballot, including drop boxes. Further, local officials must communicate changes to voting procedures through calls, text, digital ads, and public service announcements. Local officials must plan now to be adequately prepared for August and November. Michigan deserves accessible elections.”

Background:

Prior to the May 5 local elections, all registered voters were mailed an absentee ballot application, resulting in record participation with 99 percent of voters casting a ballot by mail.

Voters who have long faced barriers to the ballot, including African Americans, low-income voters, voters with disabilities and students, are at risk of being silenced in our elections if meaningful options for voting are not provided.

People without mail access, those who need assistance voting in their primary language, and people with disabilities who rely on voting machines to cast a private and independent ballot may be disenfranchised if polling places are closed.

All Voting is Local Michigan previously called for Secretary Benson to expand access to mailed ballots.