Did you know election records are public?
Who you voted for is secret, but whether or not you voted is public information. I’ve been voting since 1976. But it wasn’t until 2016 when I got a call from a volunteer on the Anil Kumar congressional campaign that I became aware that my voting behaviors were a matter of public record.
It was a ‘ballot chase’ call. I was going to be travelling for work on election day so I applied for an absentee ballot. It was my first time voting absentee and my ballot was sitting on my desk with my notes about the candidates. The call was well timed. The campaign volunteer and I had a good conversation and just before we hung up, he said I should be sure to mail my ballot with enough time for postal delivery.
Wait. How did he know I had my ballot? I never tell people I’m travelling. There was something creepy about that statement. “How do you know I have my ballot?”. He responded: “The clerk sent you a ballot last Monday, it’s public record. I get a list every day and we call to remind people to return their ballot and encourage them to vote for the doctor.”
So, anyone who wants to know, can look up my voting record and see if I’ve voted. At first, I thought it was a creepy intrusion into my privacy. But it turns out in Michigan “All voter registration records are public documents and are available for public inspection during normal business hours.” Source: https://www.michigan.gov/sos/0,4670,7-127-5647_12539_29836-88651--,00.html
Since election records are public and we are living in a pandemic why not encourage everyone to vote absentee from the safety of their homes. If you are a grandparent, parent, aunt, uncle, sister, brother or someone who cares about the health of others; you can easily snoop, I mean check, on loved ones to see if they need a reminder about the new voter right laws allowing all registered Michigan voters to vote from home.
With the Ballot Power app you can easily check if someone is registered to vote, if they’ve applied for absentee voting, if their ballot was mailed to them, and if the clerk has received the ballot. It’s that easy!
Here’s your power: https://ballotpower.org/