Early voting period complete in participating communities, polls open tomorrow for local elections
November 06, 2023
LANSING, Mich. – Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced the successful conclusion of the early voting period at jurisdictions that conducted early voting pilots ahead of elections tomorrow, Nov. 7, 2023. Polls will be open in all Michigan communities holding elections tomorrow from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
“Whether they cast a ballot in person at their local polling place, voted by mail, or tried out one of the pilot early voting sites, every citizen who participates in a local election this year can have confidence that our elections are secure and their vote will count” said Secretary Benson. “Thank you to the clerks and election workers who committed long hours to ensuring the process went smoothly in communities throughout Michigan.”
In 2022, Michigan voters overwhelmingly passed Proposal 2 to require at least 9 days of early voting before Election Day in federal and statewide elections. Last month, Secretary Benson announced an early voting pilot program to test new technology and procedures before the constitutional requirement takes effect in 2024. More than 4,600 Michigan voters cast ballots at an early voting site at the 12 counties and municipalities that tested early voting for the 2023 election. As with Election Day ballots, early voting ballots will not be counted until tomorrow night after the polls close in every jurisdiction at 8 p.m.
"I am grateful to the clerks who worked with us to pilot early voting this year,” Benson said. “From Lansing to East Grand Rapids to Westland to Oakland County, and several other communities in between, Michigan election officials met the moment and succeeded in laying the groundwork for successful early voting on a statewide level in 2024 and beyond.”
“We are very pleased to have opened the first county-run early voting sites in Michigan,” said Oakland County Clerk Lisa Brown. “Election workers and voters both enjoyed this experience, and we have learned valuable lessons and identified areas for improvement that we will share with municipalities, counties, and the state to support statewide early voting next year.”
“This new and challenging endeavor proved to be very successful,” said Delta Township Clerk Mary Clark, who ran the state’s first joint-municipal early voting site along with Windsor Township. “The clerks, working in partnership with the Bureau of Elections, always get it done and done right. We are very excited for the future of elections in Michigan!”
“Roscommon Township is proud to have been a part of this new option for Michigan elections during the early in-person voting pilot,” said Roscommon Township Clerk Carie A. Milburn, who along with nine other municipal jurisdictions operated a single-municipality site. “By participating, Roscommon Township was able to familiarize its electors with the new option and allow staff and poll workers to garner experience with the process. Through this statewide coordination, the process is being improved and will result in a more proficient system when it is implemented by all jurisdictions for the Presidential Primary. Roscommon Township is thankful that the state and Bureau of Elections are taking feedback from the participating pilot jurisdictions and are allowing Roscommon Township to offer a smaller jurisdiction’s perspective.”
Clerks and election workers oversaw a smooth early voting period that began in some communities on Saturday, Oct. 28. In total, 4,627 voters cast ballots during the early voting period. While allowing voters to cast ballots that will be counted just like absentee and Election Day in-person ballots, clerks also identified important processes to be improved and perfected before early voting opens statewide, a critical goal of the pilot.
Specifically, clerks identified key functionality needs for electronic and paper early voting pollbooks; paper forms used in early voting sites; best practices for tabulators, voter-assist terminals and ballots; and training and instructional materials for election workers and voters. This feedback will be vital as election officials finalize early voting for statewide implementation next year.
Clerks and canvassing boards must still complete additional steps to conclude the early voting process for this election, including printing results tapes from early voting tabulators (results cannot be run until polls close on Election Day), completing the election-night canvass, and completing county canvasses of local elections. These processes are expected to identify additional feedback and areas for improvement in future elections.
Polls will be open tomorrow in communities with local elections. Voters with an absentee ballot must return their ballot to their local clerk’s office or secure ballot drop box by 8 p.m.
To find out whether local elections are happening in your community or for more information about voting in Michigan, visit Michigan.gov/Vote.
Eligible Michigan residents can register to vote and cast their ballot at their local clerk’s office until 8 p.m. on Election Day. To register, potential voters must bring a document verifying their residency. Visit Michigan.gov/Vote for complete information on how to register to vote.
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