BURR OAK TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — The Michigan Secretary of State’s Office on Tuesday stripped a township clerk in St. Joseph County of her election responsibilities after it says she improperly mailed out some absentee ballots.
Between 50 and 100 voters were affected. They had previously signed up to be on the permanent absentee voter list so they would be able to vote absentee in every election. The Burr Oak Township Clerk’s Office sent voters on that permanent list an absentee ballot. However, they were supposed to first receive and fill out an application for an absentee ballot.
The SOS found out about the problem Tuesday. It said the clerk, identified on the township’s website at Jackie Wells, was not prepared to attempt to resolve the problem.
The state said it exercised supervisory control — that is, it removed the clerk from her role. The St. Joseph County clerk, Lindsay Oswald, took over operations in that township.
The SOS says it has the power to exercise supervisory control through its Bureau of Elections if clerks have demonstrated they are unable to carry out their election duties.
It’s unclear what exactly will happen to the between 50 and 100 absentee ballots involved. The St. Joseph County clerk and the Bureau of Elections were examining the situation.
About 2,000 people live in Burr Oak Township, which is northeast of Sturgis.