Absentee ballots give Michigan voter turnout numbers a bump

NOW: Absentee ballots give Michigan voter turnout numbers a bump

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. - Foot traffic may not have been its busiest during Tuesday's Michigan primary, but Benton Harbor's city clerk said she still felt like turnout was up. The reason being absentee ballots.

"A lot of people did absentee ballots because we have a lot of seniors that come to this precinct," said Garbrielle Bell, the chairperson of Election Ward 2 in Benton Harbor. "We encouraged last voting election that they do absentee, and we didn't know we were going to be in the library this time where they have stairs. So, we're kind of happy that we encouraged the AB."

One person in Benton Harbor said she usually votes through absentee ballots because of her health, but this election, she said she had a problem with her absentee ballot. She made it her personal mission to make sure her vote counted.

"We all need to have a say in things," said Rose Michele Jackson, the voter whose absentee ballot did not work. "People marched. People died. People sacrificed a lot to be able to have the right to vote."

Jackson said she is in poor health and was not feeling well Tuesday but decided to go vote anyway because she believes voting is a responsibility.

"It's not just a right," Jackson said. "It's a responsibility, and you can't complain about what's going on if you're not a participant, if you're not letting your voice be heard, if you're not making choices. Not voting is a choice that's like saying 'I don't care what people before me went through.'"

At the time of this publishing, total voter turnout numbers in Tuesday's Michigan primary were not yet available.

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