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Mon Sep 14, 2020, 02:05 AM

Michigan GOP faces 'problematic' dilemma on absentee ballots

The emerging trends of surging absentee ballots in Michigan and lingering Republican concerns about mail-in voting could collide on Election Day with major political repercussions in a state that President Donald Trump won four years ago by 10,704 votes.

Despite Trump voicing worries about fraud resulting from widespread mail-in voting this fall, political observers expect Michigan to experience a record level of absentee ballots amid a pandemic and after a 2018 constitutional amendment made it easier to vote without going to the polls.

Those planning to vote absentee favor Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden by 43 percentage points, 68% to 25%, according to a Detroit News/WDIV-TV poll of 600 likely Michigan voters. Those planning to vote on Election Day favor Trump 55% to 31%, according to the Sept. 1-3 survey, which found Biden to have a 5-point lead overall and had a plus-minus 4-point margin of error.

The president's criticism of absentee voting could mean the initial results reported on Election Day appear more pro-Trump than the complete results because absentee ballots can take longer to process, said Richard Czuba, whose Lansing-based Glengariff Group conducted the poll.

Trump's approach could also be the "single biggest strategic blunder in this election," Czuba said.

"Frankly, if I were a Republican operative, I'd be standing in the corner banging my head against the wall, asking: What have we just done to ourselves?" Czuba said.


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