Politics Michigan resident puts toilet on front lawn with sign 'Place mail in ballots here'
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A Michigan resident's prank turned into a serious offense for one election official who filed a police report over a toilet in someone's yard with a sign that read: "Place mail in ballots here."
The resident's politically-motivated lawn ornament sought to poke fun at mail-in voting, which has been the topic of many controversies this year ahead of Election Day amid the coronavirus pandemic.
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Even if the Postal Service does a perfect job this November.For months now, the logistics of mail-in voting have been a focal point for blue America’s electoral anxieties. And for good reason: If November’s election results resemble today’s polling averages, Joe Biden will be the next president of the United States. Which means that Trump either needs to make substantial gains with his present detractors (something he has struggled to do throughout his presidency) or else hope the actual electorate differs from the one pollsters’ models presume.
Down the drain: A Michigan resident's disdain for voting by mail is no laughing matter for one elections official. The resident put a toilet on the lawn with a sign saying, "Place mail in ballots here." The official filed a complaint with police.- AP Oddities (@AP_Oddities)
Barb Byrum, the Democratic clerk of Ingham County, filed a complaint with local authorities over the lawn display, arguing it could mislead people who are unfamiliar with the voting system, according to
"It is a felony to take illegal possession of an absentee ballot," Byrum said Friday.
She added that the matter is much more pressing for the upcoming election, as many voters will be casting their ballots by mail for the first time in the county.
Fact check: Echoing Trump, Barr misleads on voter fraud to attack expanded vote-by-mail
The attorney general's remarks have worried civil rights advocates who fear the Justice Department will selectively enforce voting laws.Barr’s remarks — ranging from the debunked assertion that mail voting fraud is widespread to warning without evidence that foreign countries could possibly counterfeit ballots — are largely baseless, according to election experts and researchers interviewed by NBC News, and echo falsehoods pushed by President Donald Trump. The president has for months denigrated the increased use of mail voting during the coronavirus pandemic despite having voted by mail himself as recently as August.
"It's solicitation of absentee ballots into a container," Byrum said Friday evening. "Our election integrity is not a game. I expect everyone to act appropriately, and this is unacceptable."
Byrum said under Michigan election law it is illegal to take possession of an absentee ballot and is a felony punishable by a maximum of five years in prison and a $1,000 fine.
President Trump and Attorney General William Barr have expressed apprehension this election season that mail-in voting would be one-hundred percent impervious to voter fraud, stoking concerns with elections officials that their warnings could confuse or discourage voters.
Byrum said mail-in voting is "the safest way to vote during the pandemic."
An address for the house with the toilet and sign was not disclosed, though another sign in the yard also called for the resignation of Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
Nobody answered the door of the home with the yard display Friday evening, the State Journal said.
FBI investigating mail-in ballots found in trash outside board of elections .
Nine ballots were found in the trash earlier this week, prompting an FBI investigation.The U.S. Attorney's Office of the Middle District of Pennsylvania and the FBI's Scranton Office earlier this week said they "began an inquiry into reports of potential issues with a small number of mail-in ballots at the Luzerne County Board of Elections.