Prosecutor says no charges in Michigan toilet voting display
A Michigan prosecutor will not pursue felony charges over a homeowner who displayed a toilet with a sign reading “Place mail in ballots here.”
Ingham County election clerk Barb Byrum (D) reported the Lansing-area display to police, saying taking illegal possession of absentee ballots is a felony, according to The Associated Press.
However, county prosecutor Carol Siemon (D) said the display appeared to be “an effort to make a humorous political statement” rather than any intention to violate the law.
A prosecutor in Michigan has flushed a complaint about a toilet that was promoted as a place to drop absentee ballots.
— ABC 13 News – WSET (@ABC13News) September 22, 2020
Byrum said that while she accepted Siemon’s decision, “elections are never a laughing matter.”
“The safety and secure administration of elections is of utmost importance,” Byrum said. She added that her commute to work takes her past the house and that she did not see it Tuesday.
She specifically cited recent attacks on mail-in voting by the White House, according to the AP.
President Trump has frequently attacked the voting option as vulnerable to fraud, contradicting experts who have said it is not a meaningful source of voter fraud. Attorney General William Barr, meanwhile, claimed this month that a Texas man had been indicted for filling out 1,700 ballots for a single candidate. The Justice Department conceded this was not an accurate description of the case soon after, saying Barr had been given a memo containing incorrect information.
The president in May threatened Michigan’s federal funding after Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) mailed all eligible voters absentee ballot applications, but on Monday encouraged voters to request absentee ballots.
Trump has frequently made a distinction between absentee and mail-in voting, but numerous states use the terms interchangeably. With the coronavirus pandemic likely to increase the use of mail-in voting, more than 2 million Michiganders could vote by mail in November.