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California ballots end up in Michigan; FOX 17 finds out why

Posted at 4:08 PM, Oct 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-16 16:48:07-04

CASCADE TOWNSHIP, Mich. — A Michigan clerk’s office was a little confused about a recent mail delivery.

Somehow, two ballots from California made their way here to Kent County.

“Is it a little bit weird that it made it all the way from California to my desk? Yes,” said Cascade Township Deputy Clerk Padley Gallagher.

Two ballots from Orange County, California ended up in Cascade Township Thursday afternoon.

The clerk’s office is still trying to figure out how.

“But these ones are actually not voted,” said Gallagher.

She tells us they’re blank ballots headed out from the state of California to the voter.

“How did a ballot that was sent from California to someone else in California end up on my desk?” she asked.

The documents stood out because of their color. Michigan’s ballots are normally darker.

“And I saw the orange and I was like ‘what is that?’ And I pull them out and I look at the return address and it said California, and then I looked at the mailing address thinking maybe someone was a California resident who’s living here for right now I don’t know - and nope it was addressed to somebody in Irvine.”

The post office even sent her a bill through business reply mail for having to send them back. The total was only $1.40 but she never sent them in the first place.

We’ve heard about ballot security non-stop during this election cycle. Gallagher says clerks follow very strict guidelines to make sure your votes are counted and fraudulent ballots are not.

“Let’s say that I got these and wanted to fill these ballots out there’s no way that I would be able to fill those ballots out as those people and then have it go through their matching process, their signature match all of those different things that they do,” said Gallagher.

The issue here is likely more with the post office and not the local clerks. Gallagher hopes voters realize that and continue trusting the system.

“These kinds of things happen. How many times have you gotten the wrong envelope in the mail? Like it’s addressed to somebody else you’re like, ‘ok what do I do with this?’ It’s either junk mail or you forward it onto them.”

“But here in Michigan we really do take pride in making sure that every ballot is checked, every application is checked, the signatures match. We do the best job that we can,” said Gallagher.

Gallagher spoke with Orange County on Friday.

It turns out the ballots were requested to be sent to Grand Rapids, likely from students, and there was a sticker over their new address with the California address.

Gallagher says she will now make sure the ballots get to their rightful owners here in Michigan.