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Benson: Michigan is ready to make history with in-person early voting

Early voting sites open statewide Feb. 17 for Presidential Primary election

LANSING, Mich. – Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, along with members of former Secretary of State Richard H. Austin’s family, today said Michigan is prepared to build on Secretary Austin’s legacy when in-person early voting launches statewide this weekend.
“Richard Austin was a trailblazer for voting rights and a pioneer in bringing Motor Voter programs first to our state and then nationwide,” Secretary Benson said. “We are honored to have his family here with us today as we build on that legacy and launch in-person early voting in Michigan. Starting this Saturday, every Michigan voter will have the option to cast their ballot at an early voting site in their area. I am grateful to our dedicated clerks who have worked tirelessly to implement early voting and we stand ready to provide support and assistance to make sure the process runs smoothly.”
“As Secretary of State, Richard Austin always created new and better ways to serve the people of Michigan including the Motor Voter law, which was passed in 1975 – nearly 18 years before the U.S. Congress adopted a similar nationwide law,” said Laurie Moore, niece of Richard H. Austin. “Fast forward to 2024 and it is inspiring to see Michigan embracing new options for voters, making voting more accessible and convenient. Our family and the Michigan Department of State carry his legacy of free and fair elections for every voter no matter where they live or who they vote for. We join Secretary Benson in encouraging everyone to cast your ballot in this and every election. Your vote is how you make your voice heard – use your power and make civic engagement a way of life.”
In 2022, Michigan voters overwhelmingly passed Proposal 2, requiring at least nine days of in-person early voting before Election Day in federal and statewide elections starting with this month’s Presidential Primary. The Michigan Legislature passed the legislation necessary to implement Proposal 2 in July 2023. Michigan joins 21 other states in offering this convenient option to participate in elections.  
In-person early voting sites will operate similarly to Election Day polling places – voters walk in, receive a ballot, mark the ballot, and enter it into the tabulator. The ballot will be processed but not counted until Election Day.
Early voting sites will be open Saturday, Feb. 17 through Sunday, Feb. 25. Voters can locate their nearby early voting sites and hours of operation at A voter’s early voting site may not be the same as their regular polling place.
In November 2023, several clerks with local elections in their jurisdictions volunteered to participate in an early voting pilot, offering voters an in-person early voting option. The successful pilot allowed the state Bureau of Elections and participating clerks to test the early voting technology, evaluate additional needs for the 2024 Presidential Primary, and help familiarize voters and election workers with the process.
“We were honored to participate in the early voting pilot as it provided us with an opportunity to be part of the development of an exciting new voting option in Michigan, said Delta Township Clerk Mary Clark. “You can only identify potential challenges by actually executing the process in real time. The pilot allowed that to happen and ultimately created a great, functional process.”
In addition to early voting information, more information about registering to vote, returning absentee ballots, and voting on Election Day is available at
Information on supporting the Richard H. Austin and Ida Austin Endowed Scholarship fund at Wayne State University is available here.

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Secretary Benson and Laurie Moore

Secretary Benson and Laurie Moore, niece of former Secretary of State Richard H. Austin, celebrated Black History Month paying tribute to Secretary Austin and his historic accomplishments for the State of Michigan. 

Clerk Mary Clark and Secretary of State Benson

Secretary Benson (L) and Delta Township Clerk Mary Clark (R) gave a preview of in-person early voting launching Saturday, Feb. 17 throughout the state. 

Mary Clark and Sec. Benson and Laurie Moore and Bethany James and Dennis Moore

Delta Township Clerk Mary Clark, Secretary Benson, Laurie Moore, ASL interpreter Bethany James, and Dennis Moore (nephew of Richard H. Austin) at today's news conference on the start of in-person early voting this weekend. 

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