President Donald Trump … and “Spike?”
Local election clerks in Michigan downloading absentee ballots for residents overseas were given ballots that listed Trump’s Republican running mate as Jeremy Cohen, who is the Libertarian Party candidate for vice president, the Michigan secretary of state’s office said.
Meanwhile, in North Carolina, a mixup with the first absentee ballots sent in out there caused some voters to receive two identical ballots for the November general election, according to election officials.
In both states, elections officials insisted the mistakes were caught quickly and very few bad ballots went out.
But the errors on one of the first days any states are mailing out ballots for the Nov. 3 election may add fuel to the claims by Trump and some of his supporters that the vote by mail system could be a problem.
In Michigan, Vice President Mike Pence wasn’t on the ballot next to Trump. Cohen, whose nickname is “Spike,” is running with Jo Jorgensen on the Libertarian ticket.
It was a “temporary error” that was fixed within 90 minutes Tuesday, said Tracy Wimmer, a spokeswoman for Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson.
“Approximately 400 ballots were downloaded by clerks during this period; we don’t know how many were sent,” Wimmer said.
Clerks were told to issue correct ballots and tell voters to ignore the erroneous ballot if they received one.
“If a voter does happen to return the incorrect ballot instead of the correct ballot, it will still count. The clerk will be instructed to duplicate a vote for Trump onto a ballot for Trump/Pence,” Wimmer said.
Cohen had some fun with the mistake.
“They better fix these ballots,” he tweeted. “I’d hate to help Trump’s chances.”
The city clerk in Livonia, Susan Nash, said her office hasn’t downloaded any erroneous ballots, but she has heard about the problem.
“I think it’s embarrassing. … It’s just one more thing for clerks to take care of,” Nash told the Detroit Free Press.
In North Carolina, some ballots were mislabeled with the wrong names and were shredded before they could be sent this week, Mecklenburg County election officials told news outlets.
When officials printed new mailing labels to correct the mistake, some voters ended up getting two duplicate ballots.
Fewer than 500 voters were affected, Election Director Michael Dickerson said.
The official added that it was unlikely that voters could have cast two ballots, a felony, because each mailing label includes an individual code making it impossible to vote twice.
About 813,000 absentee ballots have been requested in North Carolina as of Monday as millions of Americans prepare to vote by mail to avoid polling places during the coronavirus pandemic.