Secretary of State
SEPTEMBER 21, 2020
Overseas voters can print, fill out federal write-in ballot immediately
As of Saturday, Sept. 19, Michigan clerks have sent military and overseas voter (MOVE) absentee ballots to those who requested them. Clerks will continue to mail ballots upon request on an ongoing basis. MOVE voters also have the option of having ballots emailed or faxed to them, although these ballots must be returned by mail.
To avoid possible postal service delays, military and overseas voters also have the option to utilize a federal write-in ballot (FWAB) to expedite the voting process. Under Michigan election law, the FWAB can be used to vote for all offices on the ballot, not just federal races. Voters can see the content of their ballots and see if their ballots have been sent or received at Michigan.gov/Vote.
“In a year where the data is already telling us we’re going to have record-breaking turnout, it is critical we take every step possible to ensure all voices are heard and all votes are counted,” said Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. “The federal write-in ballot provides another important tool to ensure our military and overseas voters are able to participate in our democracy and exercise their right to vote.”
Military and overseas voters can download the FWAB, print it, write in their selections and mail the ballot back at any time. When a FWAB ballot is received, clerks are instructed to issue a MOVE ballot if they have not already done so and register the voter when applicable. If and when a MOVE ballot arrives, those voters should fill out and return that ballot as well; should the MOVE ballot arrive in time for Election Day, the FWAB ballot will be spoiled and the official ballot counted. Otherwise, the FWAB provides a fail-safe for those voters to ensure their vote is counted. Either way, the voter will be able to cast one ballot that counts.
Voters submitting a FWAB should use two envelopes, one sealed and containing their ballot to maintain secrecy, and an exterior mailing envelope containing the other envelope and the Voter Information page of the FWAB. For more information, voters can visit fvap.gov.
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