LANSING, Mich., Sept. 28, 2021 — Today, the House Elections and Ethics Committee passed House Bill 5258, which would require election officials to provide the Secretary of State and candidates proof copies of all ballots regardless of the size of the candidate’s county and change the mailing requirements. A proof copy of a ballot is a test ballot created to ensure there aren’t any mistakes on the ballots voters receive.
Currently, in the state, counties with 1.5 million or more residents, which only includes Wayne County, are required to send proof copies of ballots via costly certified mail. Instead of the 14-day deadline required now, the proposed law would make clerks submit a proof copy to every candidate and the SOS 58 days before an election via first-class mail and email if requested. Candidates wishing to correct an error would be given five business days from the date of the mailing to respond — up from the two days given now upon receipt.
“What’s important right now is passing good election legislation that improves voter experience and confidence without reducing turnout,” said state Rep. Matt Koleszar (D-Plymouth), sponsor of the bill. “We know typos and other errors can have negative consequences for both candidates and voters: they’re embarrassing, sometimes misleading and always unprofessional. Errors can be costly, both financially and politically, especially if the mistake is egregious enough to warrant a revote. Giving candidates the time and opportunity to change them, regardless of their county’s population, is common-sense legislation that ensures we’re crossing our t’s and dotting our i’s when it comes to our most sacred duty. We can’t allow a typo to muddle the results of an election.”
The bill now heads to the House floor.