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Absentee ballot safest way to vote

We are volunteers with Voters Not Politicians and citizens of Iron County concerned about the effects of COVID-19 on voter safety in polling places during the August primary and November general elections. VNP has launched the VoteSafe program to ensure safe, secure access to the ballot for every Michigander.

Normally, polling places are ideal — they offer specially trained people who care about fair elections to help us; we also get to see our neighbors. But these are not normal times. Many older residents in our county are especially vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic and we’ve been seeing a steady increase in cases in rural communities and the younger population. Since many people are asymptomatic — they carry the virus but show no symptoms — we cannot be assured that all polling places will be COVID-free this year.

So, if you are a registered voter, we encourage you to fill out the absentee ballot application provided by the Michigan Secretary of State. When questions about absentee ballot legitimacy come up, you can be assured that the rate of voter fraud is extremely small. Does one political party benefit over the other because of the increase in voting numbers? No, they don’t. Studies have shown that both parties benefit equally from increases in voting.

Because Michigan voters passed Proposition 3 in November 2018, we have many more opportunities to register and vote, even on Election Day. If you haven’t yet received your absentee ballot application, you can either call the clerk to request one, visit the clerk for a copy, or register to vote and request an absentee ballot at Michigan.gov/Vote.

A final “ask”: Our clerks are expecting more than the usual number of absentee ballots this year and could use some extra help. If you feel able, please offer your help on Election Day at in-person polling locations and processing absentee ballots. Since younger people are less vulnerable to COVID, you can invite your children or grandchildren (of voting age of course) to volunteer.

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