Judge allows wiggle room on some absentee votes

GRAND RAPIDS (AP) -- Local governments that missed a June deadline to send absentee ballots to Michigan members of the armed forces still can count the votes if they're returned after Tuesday.

A federal judge in Grand Rapids approved a compromise Monday between the U.S. Justice Department and the state of Michigan. The government filed a lawsuit after learning that dozens of clerks missed the deadline.

If a ballot was sent to a military voter a day past the June 23 deadline, it can be accepted a day past the primary election Tuesday. If it was two days, then the extension will be two days.

The state says it believes the case affects only 150 ballots and many already could have been cast.

In response to the ruling, Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson issued a statement saying "I want to thank Judge Jonker for acting swiftly to ensure overseas residents and the brave men and women of our armed forces will have their voices heard on Election Day. I am pleased that the judge agreed to extend the deadline to accept and count the affected ballots.

"Additionally, I thank Attorney General Bill Schuette's staff for successfully representing my office on this matter."

Published: Wed, Aug 8, 2012

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