The following was originally published as part of my Aug 15, 2020 Newsletter
Many in our community have noticed changes (for the worse) in our federal postal service. I assume that many of you are like me, reading news that the decline in our mail service is intentional and purposeful. As a national issue impacting all of us, the dismantling of this public good is extremely alarming. Locally, we have reason to be concerned about the USPS because our November election is likely to depend on it to deliver absentee ballots to residents as well as deliver those completed ballots to our City Clerk.
This November, if our mail is not reliable and crowded polling places feel unsafe, we can expect voters to rely on absentee ballot drop boxes. The downtown location of City Hall is not a convenient location for everyone to hand-deliver absentee ballots. According to City staff, the absentee ballot drop boxes used this past month are quite old, and are also not large enough for a high turnout election. Both of these problems will be addressed before the November election.
In November 2019, City Council unanimously approved a resolution to establish satellite locations for registration and absentee balloting in even-year November elections:
Ann Arbor is very lucky to have the excellent Jackie Beaudry as our City Clerk, supervising and coordinating our elections. Jackie and her staff have spent many months planning for the upcoming Presidential election, when we expect high participation and high numbers of absentee ballots. Jackie Beaudry has already purchased new absentee drop boxes and City Council recently approved her request for a high speed absentee ballot tabulator.
I don’t yet know the proposed satellite locations for registration and absentee ballot drop boxes, but I will keep you posted about details as I learn them.