Flint, MI–At a press conference Tuesday morning, City Clerk Inez Brown announced the opening of four new polling locations where residents can drop off their absentee ballots. 

“We were concerned that every aspect of our community was represented,” Brown said. 

The following locations will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. this Wednesday through next Monday: 

  • Northside location: Berston Field House, 3300 N Saginaw St. 
  • Southside location: Word of Life Christian Church, 460 W Atherton Rd.
  • Eastside location: Mince Manor, 3820 Richfield Rd.
  • Westside location: West Court Street Church of God,  2920 W Court St.

Each location will be staffed with two trained individuals. Residents can drop off their ballots in a secure can, and then at the end of the day the staffed people will bring the ballots back to the office of the clerk. 

The City Clerk’s Office will also be open this Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to accommodate people who would like to deliver their ballots in-person to the office.

Brown said they have also “deputized individuals” to pick up ballots from people who may not have time to turn them in. 

“I would like to indicate…that we have done that in the past, so it’s not the first time we have done that,” Brown said. “We are deputizing quite a few people because we do not want people to have their ballot and not be able to get it to us.”

There are 26 polling locations total in Flint, and Brown said “all 26 owners will allow us to use their building on election day.” 

The City Clerk’s office has received 11,455 absentee ballot applications surpassing the record of 10,666 ballots in 2008 when Barack Obama ran for president. 

Of those applications, 455 are being processed and 3,574 have been returned for a return rate of 31.2%.

Brown said delays in election results are to be expected, but that this is happening all over the state due to the increase in absentee ballot voting.

In 2008, it took two days for the office to process all of the ballots. If all 11,000 ballots are returned, Brown said they won’t finish processing them on election night. 

“But I would think that as voters of our community, because of the accuracy, you would want us to take as long as we can to ensure that everything is done properly,” Brown said. 

Brown said she could not comment on the pending lawsuit filed by Flint voters and the ACLU accusing the clerk’s office of violating their rights to vote in person. 

Without naming names, Brown said “for those…who are lambasting our office, which I don’t care if you do because we are doing things the right way, what you’re doing is suppressing the vote.”

“You are indicating to people you don’t want to vote because things aren’t being done right,” she said. 

There are 74,000 registered voters in Flint, and Brown said the fact that only about 11,000 have applied for an absentee ballot “says a lot in terms of voter apathy.”

“The voters of this community mean a lot to us,” Brown said. “They pay our salaries and they are our people. We want them to have the opportunity to vote.” 

Friday, July 31, is the deadline for the clerk’s office to receive an absentee ballot application according to Michigan state law. The deadline to submit a completed ballot is 8 p.m. on election night, Aug. 4. 

Amy Diaz is a journalist hailing from St. Petersburg, FL. She has written for multiple local newspapers in her hometown before becoming a full-time reporter for Flint Beat. When she’s not writing you...