Important: Preventable Fall Election Nightmare Looming in Michigan and States with Similar Policies

This story from Yahoo News is titled “GOP intransigence in Michigan could lead to a chaotic presidential election.” The story identifies an issue that I have been hammering away at since way back in March. There are going to be plenty of difficult issues to address, but this one is easy to fix:

A top Michigan official warned on Wednesday that, unless the Republican-controlled state Legislature passes a law to speed up the reporting of election results, it would be responsible for a chaotic and destabilizing election this fall. 

“Continued inaction by lawmakers, when we need their support and partnership now more than ever, will equate to a dereliction of duty,” Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said on a conference call with reporters.

Benson, a Democrat, is the state’s top election official. She wants current laws changed in order to allow vote counters to be able to open mail-in and absentee ballots at least one day before Election Day. 

Benson said that if clerks are not enabled to start arranging the ballots for counting before Election Day, this will increase delays in reporting the results. For one thing, she said, “every single one of [the election officials] is already going to be dealing with several other issues” on the day of the election.  

“That will create a space to enable bad actors to falsely raise questions about the sanctity and security of our elections. That reality has implications not just for our voters but for the entire country,” she said.

Pennsylvania is another large, important state for the presidential election that has the same problem. Last I checked, lawmakers there had made a modest change in these policies, which now permit election officials to process the absentees starting at 7 am on Election Day. That’s still way too late.

I fail to understand why lawmakers in these states and others with similar policies are not changing policies to permit election officials to start processing absentee ballots earlier than usual, given the volume of absentees likely to be cast this fall.

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