Election 2020 - web only

In a presidential election riddled with allegations of fraud and concerns about absentee ballots due to the pandemic, just 0.46 percent of ballots were rejected in Michigan, the state reported this week.

In Berrien, Cass and Van Buren counties, just 286 absentee ballots total were rejected out of about 148,600 ballots cast. That breaks down to 165 in Berrien, 26 in Cass and 95 in Van Buren.

The state’s report also breaks down why those ballots were rejected, with the most common reason being voters moving to other jurisdictions.

In Oronoko Township, 10 ballots were rejected for this reason, while Benton Township rejected nine and St. Joseph rejected six.

The second most common reason for ballots being rejected was death. In the tri-county area, 75 voters died in the time between returning their absentee ballots and Election Day. The highest totals of death leading to rejected ballots were: seven voters in Lincoln Township, six voters in Niles Township and six voters in Paw Paw Township.

Ballots arriving after 8 p.m. on Election Day was the third-highest reason for rejection, though it was the concern that had generated the most pre-election buzz.

St. Joseph Township rejected nine ballots that showed up after the deadline, while Oronoko Township rejected eight, Lincoln Township rejected six and Antwerp Township rejected five.

Other reasons for rejection included no signature or the signature not matching, voter registration canceled before Election Day, envelope submitted without ballot, ID not confirmed, or first-time voter who registered by mail, and voter sentenced or incarcerated before Election Day.

Only five ballots in the whole state were rejected for the latter, one of which occurred in St. Joseph Township.

Just two municipalities in the tri-county area rejected zero ballots. These were Sodus Township in Berrien County and Newberg Township in Cass County.

Paw Paw Township rejected the most ballots, 26, while Oronoko Township rejected 25 and Lincoln Township rejected 18.

In total, 15,302 of 3.3 million absentee ballots were rejected in Michigan.

The full data set can be viewed at www.michigan.gov/sos.

Contact: anewman@TheHP.com, 932-0357, Twitter: @HPANewman