Michigan Butterfly Ballot

Click for larger image. Kevin Drum passes on word from emperorsargosa word that the absentee ballots in Michigan are misaligned so that the Bush-Cheney line has nothing to mark and the Kerry-Edwards line presumably would result in a vote for Bush-Cheney.

It’s quite bizarre and, frankly, inexcusable. One could understand a glitch on a race for dogcatcher on page 12, but how does one not notice such a glaring error on the most important race on the ballot?

Fortunately, as Blue Lemur reports, a corrected ballot is being printed and distributed. What happens to the ballots that have already been sent out is unclear, though.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2004, ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Charles Fenwick says:

    From what I read on the Michigan
    Secretary of State’s website, it sounds like
    cities and townships are responsible for
    absentee ballots (which, if correct, would make
    it even lower level than here in Florida, where
    counties are responsible for them).

    Googling the name of the candidate for Sheriff
    reveals that the ballot came from Gratiot County.

    Looking at the election results, about 15,000 people voted in that county (out of 4,232,711 in the entire state of Michigan).

    It appears that people on other sites are commenting on the basis that this flaw is state-wide, but I haven’t seen anything to show that’s the case.

  2. Lysander says:

    1) I wonder which party the locality Elections commissioner (or whatever their title is) claims affiliation to. In Florida, the infamous ballot was the production of none other than a Democrat Party Commissioner.

    2) Tied in with the above, I’m completely unsurprised that the people commenting on the link (at the LiveJournal level) are suffering an accute BDS where the fact that the printing company buggered this one up is now “[President] Bush’s fault”


  3. Charles Fenwick says:

    A commentor on Daily Kos and another on Washington Monthly said that the ballot came from the city of Alma (in Gratiot County).

    Looking at the city ordinances, it apears that elections for all city positions (including Clerk, who’s responsible for elections) are non-partisan.

  4. Tammy in Texas says:

    I guess I think a little too simply at times. When I looked at the ballot, I assumed that the markings that are there would simply count for the person beside them – meaning that there was no way a person could vote for Bush/Cheney and have it count. I didn’t think they would all shift upwards.

  5. A.W. says:

    No, actually Drum is actually wrong on this point. The fact is it did not shift the arrows downward. There is an arrow for every line, including “write in” except the Bush Cheney line. If anyone is harmed by this, it is Bush and Cheney, not KEdwards.

  6. Rick DeMent says:

    Gratiot County? No such thing. Genesee County?