Swope: Michigan Republicans push ‘red herring’ to discourage mail-in voting

City clerk quashes GOP misinformation about unlocked ballot drop box in Lansing

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WEDNESDAY, Oct. 7 — Lansing City Clerk Chris Swope is assuring residents that local ballot dropboxes are locked and secured after what he labeled as a “disingenuous” video was circulated last month by the Michigan Republican Party that showed an unlocked drop box in Lansing.

“These are safe, secure drop boxes that have been used in places throughout Michigan for many, many years,” Swope said. “We’re running a safe, secure election in the city of Lansing. Anything people are trying to do to discourage people from voting is a sad reflection on them.”

The video in question was shared yesterday by the Michigan Republican Party and shows a man opening an unlocked door on the back of a ballot drop box at the Foster Community Center. Inside is a slip of paper that the man purported to be an unsecured mail-in ballot.

Swope said that video was first published on Sept. 25 — one day before the first mail-in ballots even started arriving in mailboxes across the city of Lansing and well before election inspectors ensured all 15 drop boxes within the city had been secured and locked. The alleged “ballot” in the GOP’s video also does not resemble mail-in ballots that were sent out this year.

Swope shared a sample of a mail-in ballot that features a prominent green decal on the left side of the return envelope. The document shown in the video is clearly printed in a different format.

“I’d hope they’d acknowledge it’s clearly not a ballot in the drop box. The main issue that they’re raising is a red herring. I think that clarification is very important,” Swope explained this morning.

Swope said the box was among several that had been recently installed across the city. The one at the Foster Community Center must have been accidentally left unlocked after installation. Election officials ensured it was locked tight before ballots started being sent, Swope said. Still, residents can click here to verify the status of their mail-in ballots for an added sense of security.

A message left at the Michigan GOP office was not immediately returned for this story today.

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