By Mike Kruzman & Jon King /

A local legislator is confident in the capabilities of area clerks to ensure that the upcoming elections are safe and secure.

State Representative Ann Bollin said, in a statement, that despite implications from state and federal officials, local clerks around Livingston County have made adjustments to prepare for an expected increase in absentee ballots.

Bollin, who served as the Brighton Township clerk for 16 years, said that between the addition of no-reason absentee ballot voting and the precautions people are taking due to COVID-19, they have expected this increase in absentee ballots and she has confidence in the ability of clerks to do their jobs well on Election Day. Bollin pointed out, that even though there was a mass mailing of applications from the Secretary of State earlier this year, there are still nearly 1 million ballots that were requested by voters that have not yet been returned. She said the Secretary of State’s decision to do this without a plan to address deceased voters or people who have moved did not help instill trust in elections. To help support clerks she has introduced several pieces of legislation aimed to ease the burden on them while maintaining election integrity. Bollin is a sponsor of HB 5123 which would require any city or township with more than 2 precincts and less than 6,000 people to establish an absent voter counting board to process mail-in ballots on Election Day. These panels are currently optional. The bill has passed the House Elections Committee and is supported by Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. Another plan would allow communities in increase the size of precincts to reflect the increase in absentee voters. Bollin also is sponsoring a plan to prevent fraud by making it a felony to knowingly fill out an absentee ballot application with another person’s personal information. Currently that is a misdemeanor.

However, Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum has suggested several other pieces of proposed legislation to also help the absentee ballot process. Writing in The Michigan Advance, Byrum note that Bollin sits on the Appropriations Subcommittee that provides funding for elections in Michigan and that increased funding for elections administration would “allow local clerks to hire additional election inspectors to tabulate absentee ballots, purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) for poll workers, and purchase the high-speed tabulators necessary to deliver timely results on election night.” Byrum also advocates for allowing ballots postmarked by Election Day to still be counted and allow limited pre-processing of absentee ballots before Election Day.

Meanwhile, Bollin says that anyone with election related questions or concerns is invited to email her at, or call her office at (517) 373-1784.