Michigan resident puts toilet on front lawn with sign ‘Place mail in ballots here’
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.
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. https://t.co/IYNwTXqv73 #odd
— AP Oddities (@AP_Oddities) September 19, 2020
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 the Lansing State Journal.
“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.
“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.