Thursday, September 10, 2020

Clerk advises caution with absentee ballots

Ellen Craig-Bragg
Romulus City Clerk Ellen Craig-Bragg had some strong advice for those planning to use absentee ballots in the upcoming November election.

“Do not turn your ballot over to one of these groups to bring to city hall for you,” she advised voters. “I strongly recommend against this. These groups have good intentions, but this has to do with protecting your ballot and accountability.” 

Craig-Bragg's comments came at a recent meeting of the members of the city council when she reminded residents that requests for absentee ballots need to be made only once. She said her office was receiving phone calls from some voters who were confused by several mass mailings suggesting they request an absentee ballot when they may have already done so.

“If you already submitted a request for an absentee ballot before the primary election, you do not need to request another one, despite these mass mailings,” Craig-Bragg said. She suggested any resident with a question about the status of their absentee ballot request call her office and the staff would be able to help determine whether they were already on the absentee ballot request list.

“Before making a request, give us a call,” she said. Craig-Bragg's office number is (734) 942-7540.

In response to a question from Councilwoman Kathy Abdo, Craig-Bragg said she expected that the absentee ballots would be mailed “in a couple of weeks.” She explained that the county is required to provide the ballots to municipalities 45 days before the election but that currently “they are still grappling with the primary election.” She said she expects the ballots to arrive in her office near the middle of this month and that processing of the absentee ballot requests could then begin. 

She also cautioned voters about the potential delay in mail service for the ballots and suggested that voters complete the absentee ballot as soon as possible and mail it no later than the middle of October. 

“If voters are not comfortable sending the ballot by mail, they can take advantage of the stainless steel box outside city hall,” she said. Abdo noted that this is a secure ballot box and that voters can even drive up to drop in their ballots.

Craig-Bragg noted that there is another drop box in the lobby at city hall and a third in her office, all of which are secure. She said that her office even offers curbside services for those who may be disabled and a qualified person could come to the vehicle and accept their ballot to deposit for them. 

“I know there are groups out there with good intentions,” she said, “but no, no, no, do not turn your ballot over to any group to submit it for you. Protect your ballot,” she advised.