Gaming the system: Absentee votes often pivotal in local elections

The Dispatch inspected absentee ballots last week for the May 2 primaries in those two wards, via an open records request. In just those two wards, Brooks signed 32 total ballots and Lewis signed 23. Deloach signed 32 in Ward 4, alone.

More strikingly, Emlis Mickens, wife of Councilman Joseph Mickens, witnessed 30 absentee ballots cast in her husband’s race for re-election.

Councilman Mickens told The Dispatch on Thursday his wife volunteered for his campaign, but she and other paid staffers combed the voter rolls to identify areas with disabled citizens where they could canvass for absentee votes.

“Absentees are part of the game,” he said. “Those people have the right to vote. And (in a campaign) you have to do your homework.”

Still, Mickens said he is never present when an absentee vote is cast and doesn’t know either his wife’s or staffers’ methods for procuring them.

“You’ll have to ask them,” he said.

Commercial Dispatch