Bring absent voter ballots to clerk offices and drop boxes

Election NewsAUGUST 3, 2020

Vote safely at polls on Tuesday

Voters with absent voter ballots at their homes should bring them to their local election clerk’s office or drop box prior to 8 p.m. on Tuesday. Voters should not place them in the mail at this point, as they may not arrive by 8 p.m. Tuesday and would therefore not be counted. Voters can find their clerk’s location and contact information at Michigan.gov/Vote. A list of ballot drop boxes is at Michigan.gov/SOS.

Registered voters without an absent-voter ballot may vote at their local polling place on Tuesday. Polls open at 7 a.m. and all voters who arrive by 8 p.m., even if there is a line, will be allowed to vote. Registered voters may also visit their clerk’s office before 4 p.m. today to vote in person by requesting and submitting an absent-voter ballot. To ensure polling places and clerk offices are safe for all voters and election workers, the Michigan Bureau of Elections has provided every election jurisdiction with masks, gloves, and cleaning supplies as well as protocols for hygiene and social distancing. All election workers will wear masks and voters are strongly encouraged to do so.

“The right to vote is the foundation of our democracy, and we have ensured that voters have multiple options to conveniently and safely exercise that right during the pandemic,” said Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. “In coordination with local jurisdictions and clerks across the state, we continue to make it easier to vote and harder to cheat in Michigan elections.”

Michigan citizens who have not yet registered are still able to do so at their election clerk’s office today and until 8 p.m. on Tuesday. They will be able to vote in person in the same visit. They can find their local clerk’s address and contact information at Michigan.gov/Vote.

“I encourage Michiganders to cast their vote in the upcoming election, whether you drop your absentee ballot at your local clerk’s office or decide to vote safely in person on Tuesday,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “I applaud Secretary Benson and our local clerks for the tireless, round-the-clock work to ensure Michiganders can vote safely as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Remember, if you’re voting absentee, don’t drop your ballot in the mail, take it to your clerk’s office by 8pm on Tuesday.”

Registered voters who have requested but not yet received an absent-voter ballot should contact or visit their clerk on Monday, or plan to vote at their polling place on Tuesday. Once at the polling place, they will be required to sign an affidavit stating that they did not receive an absent voter ballot. If a ballot was mailed to them and is returned, it will not be counted.

As of Monday morning, more than 1.28 million absent voter ballots had been cast, breaking the record for total absent-voter ballots ever cast in a Michigan election. The previous record was 1.27 million, cast in the November 2016 General Election.

Voters amended the state constitution in 2018 to give all voters the right to cast absent voter ballots. This new right and the pandemic have led to a surge in voting by mail. This may result in delayed election results because, unlike in at least 18 other states, Michigan law does not allow clerks to even begin preparing absent voter ballots for counting until Election Day morning.

“For the last 19 months my administration has worked every day in concert with our local clerks and national experts to implement the state constitutional rights our voters enacted overwhelmingly in 2018,” said Benson. “I am hopeful that state lawmakers will similarly work to fulfill the will of our voters with needed statutory changes before November.”

Absent voter ballot counts are provided below in comparison to the state primaries in 2016. A breakdown by jurisdiction is available here.

 

  1 Day Before Election (Aug 1, 2016) 1 Day Before Election (Aug 3, 2020)
Number of Applications Received 566,010 2,052,186
Number of Ballots Issued 575,239* 2,066,106*
Number of Ballots Returned 456,220 1,289,025

 

*The number of ballots issued is greater than the number of applications received as it represents all ballots issued, including replacement ballots for those who requested to spoil their first.

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