Detroit voters get absentee ballot request envelopes addressed to Texas in latest snafu

June 16, 2021, 2:24 PM by  Violet Ikonomova

Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey says she’s correcting an error that resulted in an unknown number of Detroit voters receiving absentee ballot request forms with a return envelope addressed to Mercedes-Benz Financial Services in Texas, rather than her office.

The issue, which is not believed to be widespread, stemmed from a glitch at third-party vendor Wolverine Solutions Group, which resulted in another client’s return envelopes being folded in with the voter mailings, Winfrey said.

The four-term clerk, who is running for re-election and has been hammered for past performance issues, says it’s not the first problem she’s had with the Detroit-based firm and that she’ll consider using another company in the future.

“Voting is too important and I can’t afford any more of these mess-ups,” she said. “At the end of the day when you sign a contract and say you can fulfill certain needs, you need to fulfill them.

“Because I’ve got people to answer too. People aren’t looking at Wolverine, they’re looking at me and saying ‘she messed up again, she messed up again.’”

Wolverine did not immediately respond to a request for comment but said it planned to provide a statement Wednesday afternoon. The city of Detroit has contracted with the company for direct mailings for years.

The snafu was discovered by a resident in the Bagley neighborhood near 7 Mile and Livernois who said in a Facebook post that she assumed the city had outsourced some work.

Winfrey, citing information from Wolverine, says she believes the problem is limited to that zip code, 48221, which has a high concentration of registered voters.

The resident’s return envelope has been replaced as the clerk’s office looks into at least one other report of an incorrect envelope in the same neighborhood.

As a precaution, Winfrey says she has directed Wolverine to, at its cost, re-send absentee ballot request forms to 1,000 addresses near the affected resident’s place on its list, along with a letter saying the error was theirs.

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