Opinion | Michigan mail-in voting creates a mail-in democracy

Lynn Afendoulis

Lynn Afendoulis is a Republican member of the state House of Representatives representing Grand Rapids Township

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson purportedly has sent out absentee ballot applications to all registered voters in Michigan so, according to her, they can vote from the safety of their home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, the news release announcing the letter she sent to 7.7 million registered voters states, “Record-breaking turnout was recorded in the approximately 50 elections held across 33 counties on May 5 with nearly 25 percent of eligible voters casting ballots and 99 percent of them doing so by mail or in a drop box. From 2010-2019, average turnout in local elections in May was 12 percent.” 

Is this the reason the Secretary of State decided to complete a mass mailing that cost taxpayers $4.5 million? Is she trying to impact voter turnout? Voting is a civic duty that should be instigated by an individual’s desire to participate in the democratic process of voting – not an activity to be manipulated by a bureaucratic office. 

Those of us who hold public office provide the impetus for turnout at the polls— voters show up either because they aren’t pleased and want to replace us, or they’re so pleased they want to retain us. But to use an office, a position, and $4.5 million in taxpayer money is unnecessary and irresponsible. 

Additionally, the Secretary of State’s mass mailing invites fraud. Just the other day, a constituent sent a photo to one of my fellow representatives of five letters mailed to his home — one to him, one to his wife, and three to people who hadn’t lived there since 1996. 

Yes, it is important to create reasonable access to the opportunity to participate in elections, including doing what we need to do to help people vote during a health crisis. It also is important to allow for absentee voting during normal times. But establishing this process as the new normal dismisses the importance of going to the polls, of the people who man the voting booths to ensure everything is done properly, of the sense of community and patriotism nurtured from this activity, and of the sanctity of clean elections. 

Mail-in voting creates a mail-in democracy. Few things of value come easy; it takes work to be successful in work, in school, in a democratic form of government. Requiring people who can to make the journey to their polling place is critical. Allowing them to phone it in – or mail it in – threatens the very fabric of this country. 

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Comments

Ted Slater
Tue, 06/02/2020 - 2:37pm

Mail-in ballots provide the opportunity for many who would find it very difficult or impossible to participate otherwise in their democracy do so safely and continuously. It has been well documented that fraud is no issue here. Ms. Afendoulis's comments are motivated solely by a desire to suppress voting, and should be entirely ignored.

Kris
Wed, 06/03/2020 - 1:09pm

No one is trying to suppress voting. To vote you should be an American citizen and show I.D. We are a republic. Democracy is mob rule. Yes there is room for voter fraud with mail in voting.

Christine Baker
Tue, 06/02/2020 - 2:39pm

Voting is a right, not an earned privilege. Too many in our state and country have been denied access to in-precinct voting because of inequitable voting infrastructure resulting in long lines. This has been particularly evident in less affluent areas, people who can’t afford to miss a day of work to vote. For increased equity, and now for safety in light of a COVID-19, easier access is required. Prop 3 passed overwhelmingly in Michigan to achieve more equity and access to voting. Bravo to our Secretary of State for facilitating participation in our democracy.

Heather Klare
Tue, 06/02/2020 - 2:39pm

Until election days are made national or regional holidays that allow for everyone to be able to vote, allowing individuals to vote in different ways that enables them to participate in the process. There is no threat to the country, it is a threat to politicians who depend on low voting numbers from district areas in order to attain or stay in office.

Jerhomey
Tue, 06/02/2020 - 2:45pm

This is a bad opinion. There is no data that supports a major increase in fraud when mail in ballots are used. Just look at Washington and Hawaii as examples. This is about artificially restricting access to voting, which is a classic GOP policy point.

Ray
Tue, 06/02/2020 - 2:46pm

Doing your job of trying to suppress turnout because you know a mobilized electorate is antithetical to Republicans getting elected.

Christine Temple
Tue, 06/02/2020 - 3:04pm

A mail-in Democracy? What the heck, lady? We have been mailing in our ballots [absentee] for years. We get our prescriptions through the mail. Our driver's licences come through the mail. This is a false narrative that your party has put out because they know they will lose if all Democrats have to do is mail it in. Is this also an attack against the USPS? Of which he wants to privatize? Poor little girl. They chose you? to fight mail in ballots. Lol

Dan Meisler
Tue, 06/02/2020 - 3:26pm

This has got to be one of the weakest arguments I've seen in print in my life. HOW, for example, is it "manipulation" to send an absentee ballot application to ALL voters? WHY is it "critical" to make people make the trip to the polls? HOW does mail-in voting threaten the "sanctity of clean elections"? Do you have even one example of this?
The shape of your district (decaying staircase?) is more of a threat to clean elections than helping people actually vote.

Joe Peiffer
Tue, 06/02/2020 - 3:29pm

Rep. Lynn Afendoulis should investigate at how elections are held before she makes such accusations of fraud in mail in voting. The Secretary of State Office sent out absentee ballot applications and Not ballots to vote . After applications are filled out, local clerks verify all information on each application to make sure they are accurate. Checks and balances are in place to prevent fraud. Maybe Rep. Afendoulis should check with her local clerks office to learn the difference between an application and an actual ballot.

Jeff
Tue, 06/02/2020 - 3:34pm

It's the 21st century. We no longer need to have polling places for people to physically vote because doing something else isn't feasible. Absentee ballots have been mailed in for decades, as have military votes, and the entire State of Oregon has had mail-in balloting for all since 1998. You fear the electorate, and you should.

Mark
Tue, 06/02/2020 - 3:41pm

Why is it the GOP just wants to make voting harder for Americans? The Miltary has been voting by mail since the Civil War, has there been widespread fraud with these ballots? My parents have been voting by mail for the last 20 years.
I hear a lot of talk of "widespread" voter fraud, yet I haven't seen that much definitive evidence of it.

Allison
Tue, 06/02/2020 - 4:18pm

"Requiring people who can to make the journey to their polling place is critical. Allowing them to phone it in – or mail it in – threatens the very fabric of this country. "

What century are you living in? This sounds like those who thought electricity was the work of the devil and that the telephone would be the end of civilization as it was then known. Do you think the only "fabric" that makes up this country is an in-person visit to a polling place? Are you yearning for a return to the way it was before the First World War and the Flu Pandemic of the 1920s? Or to the mid-40s -mid 50s?

leonard page
Tue, 06/02/2020 - 4:44pm

voters in michigan directed the state to make voting easier for all citizens in the 2018 referendum.. great idea to let more citizens vote even in trump and the repub communtiy favors making it harder. what is wrong with high voter turnout. it shows a strong democracy.

Michael Kennedy
Tue, 06/02/2020 - 7:14pm

Well said. It will be plagued with lost ballots and fraud.

Anonymous
Wed, 06/03/2020 - 6:48pm

Do you have any proof to back this assertion?

Daniel Heraty
Tue, 06/02/2020 - 9:20pm

Mail-in voting is a legitimate way to express the franchise. Why restrict it unless you fear its outcome post-election?

Richard Conto
Tue, 06/02/2020 - 10:59pm

You advocate that people risk their lives to vote?
You ignore the success other states have had with mail-in voting?
------
You are Republican and know that your party doesn't represent the people of Michigan. You know you're going to loose even the gerrymandered districts you currently skulk in.

You prefer Death before Voting - provided someone else dies

Shelley Cichy
Tue, 06/02/2020 - 11:19pm

Wait she’s worried that if we mail in our ballots we’ll be worse citizens? Honestly, what is she even talking about? She should talk to the senior citizens and military folks to have historically mailed in their ballots. Better yet, she should talk to the millions of voters in Michigan who, in 2018 overwhelmingly passed prop 3, allowing for absentee ballots for any voter, no questions asked. Geesh.

Jim Johnson
Wed, 06/03/2020 - 12:02am

Requiring voting in person is something that I equate to requiring writing in cursive, or doing advanced mathematics using a slide rule. Many people can't afford to lose work time just to go vote even if it is an important civic duty. Money talks first.

Barb
Wed, 06/03/2020 - 5:53am

I will walk over hot coals barefoot to vote BLUE this November. Our future depends on it.

Kevin Grand
Wed, 06/03/2020 - 7:21am

Because this was sent to everyone, and not just those who requested them, SoS Benson is asking for trouble since mail-in ballots break the human chain of custody normally found in every election and increases the likelihood of voter harvesting.

Not that she cares about something like that, or else protocols would have been put into place to prevent that from happening.

George Hammond
Wed, 06/03/2020 - 5:11pm

The only thing sent was an *application* to vote absentee. You still have to send in the application, where the local Clerk’s office will confirm that you are a valid registered voter before they send you a ballot.

America
Wed, 06/03/2020 - 9:07am

I don't have to go to a building called a church to be a good christian. Like wise I don't have to risk my life unnecessarily to go to a polling place to be a good citizen.

David Hogberg
Wed, 06/03/2020 - 9:10am

Sorry, but Michigan’s Republican Party line is merely another not-well-veiled attempt to accomplish voter suppression. Our times have changed

Nick Salowich
Wed, 06/03/2020 - 9:22am

There is no data that support your claims. Voting should be easy, convenient and danger-free.

Laura
Wed, 06/03/2020 - 9:26am

I'm all for printing a diversity of opinions. I opened this article hoping I might learn something from someone who has a different perspective than mine, and I did! I learned that the writer is scandalized by the Secretary of State trying to encourage voter turnout and opposes spending tax dollars to ensure equal and fair participation in democracy. That "record-breaking turnout" on May 5 must have this Republican representative worried that increased voter participation by her fellow American citizens will "threaten the very fabric" of her gerrymandered hold on power.

Tina
Wed, 06/03/2020 - 9:28am

Her constituent received “letters” in the mail for people who no longer lived there and that is enough for her to have an opinion that mail-in voting is a threat to our democracy? I can assure you that my children wouldn’t be allowed to submit an opinion essay as weak as this to their 7th or 10th grade Social Studies classes. I expect more from our elected officials.
Informing ourselves about our candidates is the ONLY thing about voting that should require our time as an informed democracy. Casting our ballots shouldn’t require hiring childcare, asking for personal time off of work, missing meals standing in lines, being patient as poll workers learn to use laptops and arrange ballot verification slips, and dodging campaign workers to get inside the building. I’m happy that Ms. Afendoulis has never had to experience our “pain at the polls” or that she finds these barriers essential to our voting process. Making it easier to vote for Michiganders isn’t a threat, it’s our future. It can’t come soon enough!!

Susan
Wed, 06/03/2020 - 9:47am

I believe mail-in voting is much better than machine voting. You can't hack a paper ballot, and you have concrete proof if there is a recount. Computer voting can be hacked, and most likely this has happened in the past. I honestly believe those opposing it are in great fear of losing the election.

David Barnosky
Wed, 06/03/2020 - 9:53am

Saying that candidates “provide the impetus for turnout at the polls” also means that money used to create that impetus is more effective as well, giving advantage to those who already have it.
Getting a mailed application is not “voter fraud.” Return it to help perfect the records.
Making voting harder empowers the votes of people who have it easy already, which is NOT what this country needs.
That’s three strikes Ms. Afendoulis. In my view you lose.

Kyle
Wed, 06/03/2020 - 9:57am

I read this article and I couldn't believe the ridiculousness of the argument that mail-in ballots make fraud run rampant when that has been disproven time and time again. Glad to come into the comments and see Michganders are smart enough not to fall for these GOP voter suppression tactics disguised as wanting to keep democracy safe.

Catherine McRae
Wed, 06/03/2020 - 10:02am

"Is this the reason the Secretary of State decided to complete a mass mailing that cost taxpayers $4.5 million? Is she trying to impact voter turnout?" The answer is yes, yes she is. She is trying to improve voter turnout, and she has. That is better for our cities, state, and country, not worse. A vibrant democracy depends on an engaged citizenry. Just because you have not been able to engage our citizenry doesn't mean someone else can't have the right to try, and succeed.

Gary Lea
Wed, 06/03/2020 - 10:04am

...And once a month I used to stand in line inside a bank to pay my utility bills but...automatic electronic fund transfer. When citizens are no longer forbidden or inconvenienced (100 years of women voting - how old is the United States?) to carry out their right to vote, perhaps then we'll have dialogue over how to vote before considering it a responsibility.

Oldmichigander
Wed, 06/03/2020 - 10:08am

BS.... Voting by mail is the right way to go. For all but Republicans who fear real voter turnout.

Patricia Wilkins
Wed, 06/03/2020 - 10:10am

While I appreciate Bridge's effort to provide commentary from all, this opinion is so wrong. The voter driven initiative to create "no reason" absentee ballots provided a clear message that there was a need for other avenues of voting. Those who take responsibility for a civic exercise that is both a right and a privilege need 21st century options. The claim that mail-in voting increases fraud is not backed by any fact-based evidence. I gladly support the usage of tax dollars to mail applications. Yes, Ms. Afendoulis, this may impact voter turn-out - in a positive way! Voters who work 12 hour shifts, voters in a time crunch of delivering children to day care, sports activities, work schedules, inaccessible polling places due to transportation issues, voters with health issues, voters with disabilities, and many more, can now exercise their right and privilege in the comfort and quiet of their own homes. And that is a positive step for all to participate in democracy.

kat
Wed, 06/03/2020 - 10:19am

On the basis of what intelligence were you elected?

Mariann Airgood
Wed, 06/03/2020 - 10:24am

Mail-in voting makes so much sense at this time in history when we are in the midst of a world-wide pandemic, and when institutionalized racism is being drawn out of it's dark closet and spotlighted for all to see clearly. Afendoulis states, "It takes work to be successful in work, in school, in a democratic form of government." It also takes funding for that school, equal opportunity for that work and inclusion, in a democratic, or any form of government. There are too many in our society who have been left out for too long. The circumstance of birth does not make one person more valuable than another and it is time for us to include everyone in our voting process.

David
Wed, 06/03/2020 - 10:36am

Mail-in voting doesn't work...............except in the States where it does, with no issues.

Fine, keep the polling stations open. BUT make ALL election days holidays, with time off FOR everyone, so they can go to the polls and free transportation to get there for people who need it.

Just another ploy to keep the Old White Men party in power.

Walt
Wed, 06/03/2020 - 10:40am

Americans have been using mail-in votes since the Civil War - it was initiated to make it possible for Union soldiers to exercise their right to vote. Five states conduct all voting by mail and there is no evidence of any widespread voter fraud. Indeed: organizing widespread fraud that isn't easily discovered and prosecuted is virtually impossible. (The only recent attempt at fraud, by Republicans in North Carolina, was discovered and the election re-voted while the perpetrators were sent to jail.)
The people of Michigan have made it clear they want the option of mail-in voting: 67% of voters supported Proposal 3-2018 which added no-reason absentee voting to our Constitution.
The Secretary of State is doing the right thing by making sure all registered voters are aware of their rights and that she facilitates voters exercising their constitutional right.

Kate
Wed, 06/03/2020 - 10:46am

Nice try, Republican voter suppressor. I believe we should be able to vote online and by mail. We can file our tax returns online, and direct over-payments to our bank accounts, the numbers all shared with MI and IRS online. All this is EXTREMELY confidential information. Somehow that gets done securely. Millions of taxpayers have automatic deposits to their checking for government payments of Social Security, etc. That seems to be well-guarded. So why can't we figure out a secure way to vote online? We could vote online and then

Dee Alain
Wed, 06/03/2020 - 10:57am

This piece by Lynn Afendoulis has, in my opinion, "zero" credibility. Here's why:
1. Afendoulis takes the stand that increasing the current 12% average voter "turnout" (participation!) in Michigan is, actually, not a good thing! Hmmm. If so, why do we, then, always encourage "everyone" to exercise their right to vote?
2. Afendoulis claims that voters must have sufficient "desire" to show up at the polls or they should have no say in the electoral process. Nonsense. Motivation is irrelevant and none of anyone's business! EVERY American is entitled to cast their vote. Let's take her claim a step further: Every American should have to "walk" -- on stilts -- to the polls to prove their worthiness to vote. Eh? By her reasoning, this would be a good thing!
3. Her claim about vulnerability to fraud is unsupported. Her hearsay example is pitiful, at best. Federal business is routinely conducted by mail. Precedent reduces her argument to ashes. Further, voter manipulation under the current system has been widely documented. Mail-in voting would make these particular practices impossible (reducing the number of polling places, etc.)
4. Her final statement repeats her premise and it's a whopper. To paraphrase, "It is the American way for it to be difficult to vote'" Yes! She asserts that making it easier for Americans to vote "threatens the very fabric of this country!" I kid you not. In spite of the gravity of the issue, I can't stop laughing!

CP
Wed, 06/03/2020 - 11:02am

I am in my 60s. Until a few years ago I voted in person, missing elections very rarely, most often because of my long hours as a nurse. When I started voting absentee, I found that rather than my vote being just a “mail-in”, as Ms. Afendoulis alleges, it was much more thoughtful, allowing time for me to review materials about candidates and ballot proposals, double-check my selections for accuracy, and feel pleased that my votes were meaningful. These are not things I ever could express about the many years of standing in line, knowing that the longer I was in the booth, the longer the wait by others. I strongly disagree with the premise that polls are necessary for active involvement in our democracy and for voting. My own experience is that it makes for a much more involved and informed electorate and citizens.

Daniel Stearn
Wed, 06/03/2020 - 11:09am

The Representative is afraid that every citizen will be able to vote. It has been in use in various states for decades with no problems or fraud. Trust the People.

Chuck Jordan
Wed, 06/03/2020 - 11:36am

Why would the Republican party be afraid of more people voting?

Joyce Peralta
Wed, 06/03/2020 - 11:48am

This opinion is an absolutely foolish argument against absentee voting, also known as voting by mail. Inaccurate information is given, as voting by mail has NOT been proven to lead to fraud. Making voting unsafe this year, while we face the corona virus, and more difficult for people in any election is not what American democracy should stand for.
Why on earth would Republicans want to make life less safe & more difficult? Because they know there are more citizens that disagree with Republican values & policies. If they count the votes of all citizens that wish to vote, Republicans will loose or have to become more in line with what citizens actually want from their leaders. Voters in Mi clearly voted in favor of “no-reason Absentee voting”. So how about we listen to the voters in a democracy.

M.H.
Wed, 06/03/2020 - 12:12pm

Utter poppycock.

chester marx
Wed, 06/03/2020 - 12:57pm

I worked 2 jobs and went to school. Never got a chance to vote until I got my degree. Make it easier to vote.

Rebecca Epstein
Wed, 06/03/2020 - 1:46pm

Bridge - You claim to be a non-partisian publication, but this opinion piece is clearly from the right side. The right persists to claim voter fraud is a large problem when not a single case has ever been proven. If you're going to publish such an opinion piece, be genuinely non-partisian, and publish an opposing piece side by side. While the federal Fairness Doctrine in media is no longer enforced it falls on institutions like Bridge to be intentional balanced.

Mick Hawkins
Sun, 06/07/2020 - 1:18am

I think the commenters here have accomplished that very thing very capably -- and overwhelmingly -- as I suspect the Bridge folks knew very well would happen.

Karen Dunnam
Tue, 06/09/2020 - 10:25pm

Concur. I am proud of all y'all refuting these silly arguments with facts, statistics, and humor ("my 7th or 10th grade social studies" kids ... "decaying staircase" shaped district ...).
Probably a few constituents chiming in as well.
The Bridgesters can continue their heavy lifting and give us fluff like this for batting practice.

Mary
Wed, 06/03/2020 - 1:58pm

A person filling out an application fraudulently would have to sign it and that signature would have to match the signature on record. Not likely. I'm assuming her friends would not try such a stunt. More hysteria from the right.

Geraldine Grunow
Wed, 06/03/2020 - 3:14pm

Many readers have already made excellent criticisms of this article, which offers no sound arguments against mail-in ballots. One sentence struck me as particularly disconcerting and tone-deaf: "Few things of value come easy; it takes work to be successful in work, in school, in a democratic form of government." As we have learned at great cost recently, "success" is also determined by accident of birth and government policy. All too often, "work," even hard work, is not enough.

gina
Wed, 06/03/2020 - 3:38pm

4.5 million dollars on 7.7 million people is less than 50 cents a person. Are you saying its not worth spending 50 cents on asking someone "hey did you know you can vote from home? here's an application to get a ballot when they're ready". I do think thats a great way to spend funds to engage possible voters. i do not think that people only want to vote if they really love or are displeased with a candidate and that thats a really narrow way of thinking of our democratic values. everyone has the opportunity to vote, if spending 50 cents on them gets more folks out, great

Karen Dunnam
Tue, 06/09/2020 - 7:54pm

Further, the funding to send out these applications came from the federal CARES act, mandated to improve voter safety pertaining to COVID during this election cycle.
It did not come out of the roads, Pure Michigan, or beautify-the-state-capitol building funds.

David
Wed, 06/03/2020 - 5:32pm

So you’re censoring comments?

Joe
Wed, 06/03/2020 - 6:48pm

I recall a November presidential (and other) election when I could not practically vote. I was working a 12 hour night shift. When I got home the morning of the election, the line at my polling place was hours long, so I went to bed to wait. Mid day, my wife told me the line was still out the door. Later afternoon, before returning to work, the line still appeared impossibly long, so I went to work and did not vote. Simply put, there is no reason a voter should have to wait hours before casting a ballot. This is a failure of elected officials, like Lynn. Throwing additional obstacles at voters is a thinly disguised self preservation strategy. A better one would be listening to the voters. I pay a lot in Michigan taxes; I expect more from my government than excuses and obstacles.

Jeffrey Albaugh
Wed, 06/03/2020 - 9:35pm

What utter bologna. Erecting artificial barriers to voting is the real threat to democracy led by a lawless President. Voting this November in large numbers is the way to cleanse this nation of this threat.

Sharon Roberts
Wed, 06/03/2020 - 10:30pm

I am extremely glad our State has moved to mail in ballots. It offers the opportunity to review the ballot and the proposals and do research if needed before selecting. Also, those working, those with children, illness, caregiver, lacking transportation, and the list can go on and on why people cannot get to the polls. Please give confidence to our workers. We surely do not want to be a WI and how people had to stand in line for hours with coronavirus looming. I witness this when visiting family....the GOP vs Democrats and it became a unacceptable mess. Many States fo mail in.

Gazelda
Thu, 06/04/2020 - 12:18am

Who got my ballot? It surely wasn't me. CNN and MSNBC both did reports on the prevalence of voter fraud when dealing with mail in ballots. And just in the last couple of weeks thousands of ballots from one of the Carolinas was found in Baltimore. If I remember correctly, Detroit had an issue with missing ballots that were found later during the last presidential election. For those who can't go to their polling place for one reason or another whether it's illness or unable to get the time off of work, mail in ballots are great. Me, I want to see my vote placed in the machine to be counted with my own eyes. I don't trust the government. And seriously, whoever got my ballot, send it to me. I'm still waiting for it.

Rebecca Epstein
Fri, 06/05/2020 - 2:39pm

No one recieved ballots, only applications.

Kyle
Sun, 06/14/2020 - 8:55am

They sent out absentee voter registration forms NOT ballots.

If you want to go to the polls great, go do that. Don’t deny the rest of us, who believe in both science and free and fair elections, our right to vote, because you subscribe to the completely false Republican narrative about voter fraud.

If you’re really concerned about voter fraud, look it up! You’ll see that it almost never happens and Republican claims that it does are just another way of suppressing the vote.

Dave
Thu, 06/04/2020 - 8:25am

“ Allowing them to phone it in – or mail it in – threatens the very fabric of this country. ”

The fabric of this country is pretty frayed right now, and it’s not because of mail in voting. In fact, if one developed a comprehensive list of 100 things currently and actually threatening the fabric of our country right now, mail in voting wouldn’t even make the list.

S. L.
Thu, 06/04/2020 - 9:04am

Bridge usually does a good job of publishing thoughtful pieces from all sides of an issue, but this one insults your readers' intelligence. If these are the best arguments that can be made in opposition to mail in voting, then it's an easy decision.

Marcia L McNitt
Thu, 06/04/2020 - 9:34am

Bridge Magazine is supposed to be non-partisan. I am appalled that this opinion piece, which is clearly partisan, is published here. I regret giving my financial support to this site.

Laura
Thu, 06/04/2020 - 3:23pm

I read this opinion piece yesterday, and I just cannot get it out of my mind. I keep coming back to it and reading it again, because I can hardly believe that there is an elected official in our state who publicly calls for voter suppression! It is incredible to me that during a week of unprecedented public demonstration for equality under the law and against racism, Bridge would publish an opinion piece advocating for voter disenfranchisement. The views espoused in this piece embody the very definition of systemic, institutionalized racism. I have to wonder if Bridge published this piece during this week purposefully, so that white people like me can see glaring evidence, laid out in black and white, that support for legislated racism is alive and well in the state of Michigan. We have work to do!

Mary Reetz
Thu, 06/04/2020 - 4:14pm

This commentary is an example of why it is so crucial to educate oneself and not just believe everything you read or hear. The arguments made against mail-in voting are false and simplistic. Perhaps this is one positive outcome of the Coronavirus, to allow and encourage everyone to vote by mail! Let’s put an end to gerrymandering while we’re at it.

John Smith
Thu, 06/04/2020 - 9:07pm

Publishing this was beneath the standards of BridgeMI.

Vince Caruso
Sat, 06/06/2020 - 1:41pm

Agree, unless with a disclaimer that the facts are not substantiated.

Debbie Rosenman
Sat, 06/06/2020 - 10:17am

Rep. Lynn Afendoulis should investigate at how elections are held before she makes such accusations of fraud in mail in voting. The Secretary of State Office sent out absentee ballot applications and Not ballots to vote . After applications are filled out, local clerks verify all information on each application to make sure they are accurate. Checks and balances are in place to prevent fraud. Maybe Rep. Afendoulis should check with her local clerks office to learn the difference between an application and an actual ballot.

Vince Caruso
Sat, 06/06/2020 - 1:38pm

Trumpers of the world unite against the TRUTH!!
The GOP (Grand Oligark Party) is all about voter suppression or they will lose and be out of office, according to the Supreme Leader Trump.

James Sutton
Sun, 06/07/2020 - 8:54am

Republicans have nothing to offer and can only suppress and run from the people. Messages like Lynn Afendoulis's are not meaningful content or opinion - it's keeping tabs on just how far they might have to go to undermine or even halt elections. If she doesn't realize this she is a dupe. If she does understand she is with the boogaloo bois.

Anonymous
Sun, 06/07/2020 - 8:58am

Get over it lady!
Service men and women overseas have voted my mail for eons haven’t they!
The GOP aka Gang Of Profiteers are crying about losing .
God you are all pathetic and disgusting.

Jason
Mon, 06/08/2020 - 9:27am

No-reason absentee overwhelmingly approved by the people of Michigan at 66.8%!!!

Dixon Dudderar
Tue, 06/09/2020 - 11:13am

Ms. Afendoulis apparently has a problem with Proposal 3? Which more than 66 percent of Michigan voters approved of, in 2018, when they said yes to what's known as no-reason absentee voting? Which one has to APPLY for in a detailed process that requires voter roll checks, signatures, a written citizenship pledge and assorted other protections. She apparently has a problem with the DOZENS of other states that allow this? And a problem with the budget Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has? ... To run her office as she sees fit? Lastly: Does Ms. Afendoulis vote absentee? Is she signed up for the permanent list? Like the Michigan GOP has urged her to do?

Susan Hoffman
Thu, 06/11/2020 - 4:58pm

I am a former Michigan resident now living in the State of Washington, where we have had all mail in voting for years. Fraud does not seem to be an issue at all. In fact, I find that getting the ballot in advance makes me a more careful voter. At the time we get ballots in the mail, we also get voters pamphlets from State and local governments providing balanced information about candidates and issues. After we mail in our ballots we can track them to see when they get delivered and counted. I fail to see why people seem so afraid of this technique. I have found it to be a big improvement.

Cathy
Fri, 06/12/2020 - 8:42am

Your overlooking some important points their Lynn. At the top would be the systemic long history of the GOP's actions suppressing the vote. You need not go far to see it's current affect, just look to Georgia's recent debacle. Manipulation by the republican party is historic.

PeggyHarrington
Sat, 06/13/2020 - 9:52am

Instead of immediately assuming fraud because extra ballot applications were sent to people who didn't reside at an address, why didn't they just write on the envelope that the party no longer lives there and send it back. That is how records get updated. It doesn't take a genius to figure that out.

Additionally, the only reason republicans dont want mail in voting to occur is they know they would lose most elections, not because of fraud but because more people would be able to participate. Many rural people cannot get to the polls and they should not be punished for it.

Meister
Mon, 06/15/2020 - 1:34pm

A presidential commission formed by the current administration in 2016 did not unearth any incidence of voter fraud nor did a Florida investigation regarding the governor's race in 2018 yield any evidence of fraud with absentee ballots. This is the 21st century & we are in the middle of a pandemic, insisting that people ---especially the high risk population-- stand in a crowded room merely because of an antiquated belief in showing up in person at a polling booth is asinine. It is also a means of voter suppression. The people of Michigan have voted for absentee ballots for all its registered voters, Ms. Afendoulis should be one of its champions, not a detractor.

Thomas Concorde
Tue, 06/16/2020 - 11:08am

How is it that I can online bank on my phone but I cannot online vote? Mail-in ballots are the next most convenience thing to an online process and it is probably more available to a larger portion of the general public. Remember, some states are exclusively mail-in. This opinion seems based around voter suppression.

Lawrence Biggs
Tue, 06/16/2020 - 4:09pm

Voter suppression is the hallmark of Republican Party and this attack on mail in voting is just another effort at suppression. Rather than making voting easier and more accessible for all Michigan citizens the Republican legislators try to limit and suppress voting, especially voting that might make it easier for Democratic voters to vote. The Republican fought to keep both Prop 2 and Prop 3 from being passed, and now they don't want those voter approved reforms to be implemented. President Trump has railed against Vote by Mail, but he in fact votes by mail himself. Fraud claims are a red herring of the reddest sort as signatures are required and can be compared at numerous steps along the process and has been shown to happen with less frequency that the chances of being struck by lightning. If Republicans want to continue to stand against encouragement of full voting options than they will lose. If they really want to get voters to support their efforts in government they need to turn to policies and actions that are beneficial to all rather than just the few.