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Michigan Compiled Laws Complete Through PA 402 of 2020
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Section 168.803

Act 116 of 1954

168.803 Counting and recounting of votes; intent of voter; stray marks; instructions issued by secretary of state.

Sec. 803.

  (1) Except as otherwise provided in this act, the following rules govern the counting and recounting of votes:
  (a) If it is clearly evident from an examination of a ballot that the ballot has been mutilated for the purpose of distinguishing it or that there has been placed on the ballot some mark, printing, or writing for the purpose of distinguishing it, then that ballot is void and shall not be counted.
  (b) A cross, the intersection of which is within or on the line of the proper circle or square, or a check mark, the angle of which is within a circle or square, is valid. Crosses or check marks otherwise located on the ballot are void.
  (c) Marks other than crosses or check marks used to designate the intention of the voter shall not be counted.
  (d) A cross is valid even though 1 or both lines of the cross are duplicated, if the lines intersect within or on the line of the square or circle.
  (e) Two lines meeting within or on the line of the square or circle, although not crossing each other, are valid if it is apparent that the voter intended to make a cross.
  (f) A failure to properly mark a ballot as to 1 or more candidates does not alone invalidate the entire ballot if the ballot has been properly marked as to other candidates, unless the improper marking is determined to be a distinguishing mark as described in this subsection.
  (g) Erasures and corrections on a ballot made by the elector in a manner frequently used for this purpose shall not be considered distinguishing marks or mutilations.
  (h) A ballot or part of a ballot from which it is impossible to determine the elector's choice of candidate is void as to the candidate or candidates affected by that determination.
  (i) A vote cast for a deceased candidate is void and shall not be counted, except that a vote cast for a candidate for governor who has died, and for whom a replacement has not been made, shall be counted for the candidate for lieutenant governor of that party.
  (j) A ballot cast that is not counted shall be marked by the inspector "not counted", kept separate from the others by being tied or held in 1 package, and placed in the ballot box with the counted ballots.
  (k) A vote shall not be counted for a candidate unless a cross or a check mark has been placed by the voter in the square before the space in which the name of the candidate has been printed, written, or placed.
  (2) If an electronic voting system requires that the elector place a mark in a predefined area on the ballot in order to cast a vote, the vote shall not be considered valid unless there is a mark within the predefined area. A stray mark made within a predefined area is not a valid vote. In determining whether a mark within a predefined area is a stray mark, the board of canvassers or election official shall compare the mark with other marks appearing on the ballot. The secretary of state shall issue instructions, subject to the approval of the board of state canvassers, relevant to stray marks to ensure the fairness and uniformity of determinations made under this subsection. A secretary of state's instruction relevant to stray marks shall not be applied to a ballot unless the secretary of state issued the instruction not less than 63 days before the date of the election.

History: 1954, Act 116, Eff. June 1, 1955 ;-- Am. 1955, Act 271, Imd. Eff. June 30, 1955 ;-- Am. 1957, Act 195, Eff. Sept. 27, 1957 ;-- Am. 1967, Act 37, Eff. Nov. 2, 1967 ;-- Am. 1985, Act 160, Imd. Eff. Nov. 20, 1985 ;-- Am. 1997, Act 137, Imd. Eff. Nov. 17, 1997 ;-- Am. 2004, Act 92, Imd. Eff. Apr. 26, 2004 ;-- Am. 2015, Act 268, Imd. Eff. Jan. 5, 2016
Compiler's Notes: This section was amended by Act 240 of 1964, but that act was disapproved by the voters in the November, 1964, election.Act 269 of 2001, which was approved by the Governor and filed with the Secretary of State on January 11, 2002, provided for the amendment of MCL 168.31, 168.73, 168.283, 168.393, 168.509y, 168.509aa, 168.561a, 168.624, 168.624a, 168.686, 168.706, 168.727, 168.737, 168.745, 168.769, 168.782b, 168.795, 168.795c, 168.797a, 168.798c, 168.799a, 168.803, 168.804, 168.842, and 168.931 of, the addition of Sec. 701 to, and the repeal of Sec. 509 of, Act 116 of 1954, known as the Michigan Election Law. A petition seeking a referendum on Act 269 of 2001 was filed with the Secretary of State. The Board of State Canvassers officially declared the sufficiency of the referendum petition on May 14, 2002. Const 1963, art 2, sec 9, provides that no law as to which the power of referendum properly has been invoked shall be effective thereafter unless approved by a majority of the electors voting thereon at the next general election. A referendum on Act 269 of 2001 was presented to the electors at the November 5, 2002, general election as Proposal 02-1, which read as follows:“A REFERENDUM ON PUBLIC ACT 269 OF 2001--AN ACT TO AMEND CERTAIN SECTIONS OF MICHIGAN ELECTION LAWPublic Act 269 of 2001 would:--Eliminate “straight party” vote option on partisan general election ballots.--Require Secretary of State to obtain training reports from local election officials.--Require registered voters who do not appear on registration list to show picture identification before voting a challenged ballot.--Require expedited canvass if presidential vote differential is under 25,000.--Require ballot counting equipment to screen ballots for voting errors to ensure the accurate tabulation of absentee ballots. Permit voters in polls to correct errors.--Provide penalties for stealing campaign signs or accepting payment for campaign work while being paid as a public employee to perform election duties.Should this law be approved?Yes __________No __________”Act 269 of 2001 was not approved by a majority of the electors voting thereon at the November 5, 2002, general election.
Popular Name: Election Code

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