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Secretary Benson launches first-ever early voting pilot for November 2023 elections
October 27, 2023
Early voting will begin in several participating communities Oct. 28
DETROIT, Mich. – Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson today announced that a pilot of early voting will begin in several Michigan communities on Saturday, Oct. 28. The pilot is an opportunity for the Michigan Department of State, Bureau of Elections, and participating clerks to test, assess, and review early voting technology and procedures in advance of the 2024 presidential elections.
“I am grateful to the dedicated clerks who have stepped forward to voluntarily participate in our early voting pilot program,” Secretary Benson said. “This pilot will ensure that our processes and systems are field-tested as we prepare for statewide implementation of early voting in 2024. The more voters who know about this opportunity, the better we will be at assessing the success of this pilot and preparing for next year.”
Last year, Michigan voters overwhelmingly passed Proposal 2 to enshrine expanded voting rights into the state constitution. Among the new requirements, Michigan’s election administrators must offer at least nine days of early voting in their communities starting in 2024. While there are no statewide elections this year, the local elections in several Michigan communities are a valuable opportunity to test early voting before Election Day – Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023.
Twelve counties and municipalities volunteered to run early voting sites. Some sites will serve single municipal jurisdictions and others will serve multiple municipalities within a county. Days and hours will vary depending on the jurisdiction, but many of the early voting sites will be open starting tomorrow, Saturday, Oct. 28. Early voting will end at all participating sites by 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 5. A list of participating communities along with links to early voting days, locations and hours of operation is available at Michigan.gov/EarlyVoting.
The purposes of the pilot are to test and assess procedures and technology, evaluate any additional needs for resources and funding, and give election workers experience administering the early voting process.
“The clerks willing to take on this challenge are doing a great service to voters all across the state and deserve to be commended,” said Jonathan Brater, Michigan Director of Elections. “Because this is the first time we’re testing early voting in Michigan we expect to find areas that may need attention or additional support. This pilot will help us identify what works and what should be adjusted before early voting starts statewide next year.”
Since 2019, all Michigan voters have had the option to request and vote an absentee ballot in person at their clerk’s office before Election Day. Early voting allows voters to cast a ballot the way they would at a polling place on Election Day – voters are issued a ballot and can personally insert it into the tabulator at their early voting site. Votes from early voting sites will not be counted until Election Day.
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Secretary Benson (with ASL interpreter Bethany James at left) announced the launch of an early voting pilot program in several Michigan communities.