Authorities in Michigan have found a box of mail-in absentee ballots from the 2020 election stashed in a Genesee County storage unit.
A Michigan official confirmed that the box contained approximately 300 absentee ballots.
Just the News reports that Thetford Township Supervisor Rachel Stanke found the ballots thanks to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
During a meeting of the township board, Stanke brought the issue to the attention of its residents.
“Two-hundred and eighty-nine absentee ballots were found in a storage unit in downtown Clio,” Stanke told Mid-Michigan Now.
Stanke learned of the possible existence of the missing ballots in 2021 and alerted the state’s attorney general and secretary of state.
She eventually reported the issue to the Michigan State Police once tips came in about the ballots and some “old township documents” that had been uncovered.
A former township worker rented the unit and kept the boxes inside, the FOIA records reportedly stated.
“She was not aware when she put it in there,” Stanke explained.
“She was asked to store it in there.
“She just thought it was old township documents.”
In August, state police recovered the ballots in question, according to Mid-Michigan Now.
The agency is investigating the matter.
Stanke said she wants citizens to know about the discovery so they can keep an eye on their elections in the future.
Katie Hicks, who lost the Thetford Township Clerk election in 2020 by 19 votes, said she is glad the issue is being brought to light because “the election is right around the corner again.
“And it concerns me that this will take place again for 2024.”
Meanwhile, Click on Detroit reported in February 2020 that Michigan clerks experienced a wave of absentee ballots.
“We have seen a 75 percent increase in applications for absentee ballots,” Jake Rollow, Director of Communications for the Secretary of State, explained at the time.
“So far, clerks this year have sent out 776,000 absentee ballots to Michigan voters across the state.”