City of Detroit’s website provides wrong application to vote by absentee


Update: The error was fixed after this story was published. 

Detroiters who use the city’s website to apply for an absentee ballot are directed to the wrong application, causing confusion just three weeks before the presidential election in the state’s largest city.

The link to vote by absentee provides an application for the March 8 presidential primary, not the Nov. 8 general election. Another link for an online absentee application goes to an error page.

The city Clerk’s Office has been aware of the problem for at least two weeks but has not corrected it.

“the site we were using has been sold and THEY are not interested in our service. sMh,” Clerk Janice Winfrey tweeted to a voter on Oct. 3.

After another voter tweeted about the problem today, the city of Detroit responded, “thank you for the tweets. The elections division at the clerks office is aware and taking care of it.”

Mayor Duggan’s office, which has no authority over elections, said it was unaware of the problem until today and plans to post the correct application on the city’s homepage.

The Secretary of State’s office also said it was unaware of the problems.

The clerk expects about 90,000 people to vote by absentee. But if the wrong application is sent, many people may lose their right to vote by absentee in a city that overwhelmingly supports Hillary Clinton for president.

The correct application to vote by absentee is on the Secretary of State’s Office website, but many people don’t know that because they are told to apply through their local clerk’s office.

Here is the application to vote by absentee on the city’s website. Note that it’s for the primary election.


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Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.