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The ballots were discovered in a storage locker in Thetford Township in August 2022 but just disclosed after the town’s supervisor, Rachel Stanke, filed a freedom of information request and discussed the findings at a municipal meeting this week. The ballots, which were found in a locker owned by the deputy town clerk, appear to mostly be spoiled ballots, Michigan State Police said.
Stanke, who was tipped off in 2021 that some absentee ballots might be missing, said that it was important to bring the discovery to light so citizens could trust future elections.
“That’s why I want to bring this to their attention,” she said, according to Michigan News Source. “And I want them to be able to make sure that their elections are run fairly and smoothly.”
With spoiled absentee ballots, voters could be sent a new one or go pick one up. “Say they didn’t receive their ballot or they lost it or their dog ate it. They would have to come into the township and write a letter I believe show their ID and be issued a new ballot,” Stanke said.
The Michigan attorney general’s office will decide if any criminal charges need to be filed or if any laws were broken, according to ABC 12 News. The investigation by Michigan State Police is still ongoing.
Stanke said that the ballots had been accidentally stored at the facility by a former city employee.
“She was not aware when she was asked to store them in there. She thought they were old township documents,” she said.
Members of the community want assurances that there will be more oversight about how and where ballots are stored.
“Now this is all coming out and … I’m kind of happy that it’s coming out because the election is right around the corner again,” said Katie Hicks, a candidate for township clerk in 2020 who lost by just 19 votes. “And it concerns me that this will take place again for 2024.”
Thetford Township, a town of about 7,000 people, is located just north of Flint, Michigan.