Absentee follies

From a reader in Japan:

I live in Japan, just got my absentee ballot from VA and was required to fill the whole thing out in easily-erasable #2 pencil!! Gee, I’m glad I went through the trouble of ordering that absentee ballot and paying about $2 to mail it back…not only will it not be counted unless the race is close, it could be counted as a vote for anyone.

And if this is on the level, it’s pretty horrifying. It’s allegedly a scan of the Michigan absentee ballot — note the misaligned arrows in the Presidential section.

Update from a Michigan reader:

It’s not MICHIGAN’s absentee ballot; it’s Gratiot county’s (not my county, BTW). It’s a small county (pop. 42000; maybe 25000 voters?) in the center of the state (where my bro-in-law is from). The printer made a mistake; they’ve sent out corrected ballots already (from the comments at LiveJournal). Chances are that any misprinted ballots would have to be hand counted. Gratiot County is probably 80% Republican, so a likely max of 5000 Kerry votes, of which maybe 500 would be absentee, most of whom will use the corrected ballot. If they somehow manage to get some court to agree that connecting the arrow by Kerry-Edwards is somehow a vote for Bush, it would probably cost Kerry 100-150 votes. If the Dems in that part of the state are on the ball, they’ll let everyone know to use the corrected ballot. Possibly significant, but most likely not. The Repugs have much more efficient ways to steal elections.

It’s why I used the word “allegedly” — it’s always wise to approach things one comes across online with a grain of salt.