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"You can't know, you can only believe -- or not" -- C.S. Lewis, 20th century English author.

* About 25 percent of voters in Michigan this year are expected to cast ballots absentee. "More and more people, in talking to their neighbors, are finding out it's convenient in saving you a trip to the polls," said Macomb Township Clerk Mike Koehs about the use of absentee ballots. "And it's convenient in giving you time to look at the ballot, discuss all the proposals. People want time to evaluate those."

Great right? Well, not really, if you actually read the state law on absentee ballots.

As is explained on the AB application itself, Michigan only allows such voting for a handful of reasons. They are:

"I expect to be absent from the community in which I am registered for the entire time the polls are open on election day."

"I am physically unable to attend the polls without the assistance of another."

"I cannot attend the polls because of the tenets of my religion."

"I have been appointed an election precinct inspector in a precinct other than the precinct where I reside."

"I am 60 years of age or older."

"I cannot attend the polls because I am confined to jail awaiting arraignment or trial."

To make a false statement on the application is a crime -- a misdemeanor, to be exact.

Michigan is aging, so the preferential treatment given those 60 and up would contribute to greater AB voting. But you, me and that guy behind the tree know that aging alone doesn't explain the state results.

Put simply, people are making false statements to get absentee ballots because it's more convenient for them.

They should be able to do this, of course, but in Michigan, thanks to lawmakers the convenience-seeking voters elect, it is against the law to vote by convenience.

For years, there have been bills to authorize so-called "no-reason" absentee voting. You want a ballot early, fine, here it is.

The Legislature will not pass the idea, though. Why?

* If you are a voter still deciding about Proposal 4, the study below of Michigan's Home Help program may be useful. It was released in 2011, but there's a great deal of basic info about the program:

* The tale of a Detroit man's effort to turn a foreclosed property into a home for his children:|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE

* This would seem to be market forces at work. Amtrak detects greater demand for passenger rail service and is, thus, offering more service:

* Local opposition around the country could complicate the growth of the wind energy business:

Facts matter. Trust matters. Journalism matters.

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