Whitmer signs bill giving clerks more time to prepare absentee ballots


Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signs bill to give clerks more time to process absentee ballots. - GOVERNOR'S OFFICE
  • Governor's Office
  • Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signs bill to give clerks more time to process absentee ballots.

Many clerks in Michigan may begin processing absentee ballots a day before the general election under a bill signed Tuesday by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

The legislation allows clerks in cities and townships with populations of at least 25,000 to start processing ballots by removing them from their envelopes on Nov. 2. The bill, however, does not allow clerks to count the ballots until Election Day.

The legislation is intended to give clerks a jump start as a record number of voters plan to cast absentee ballots. About 400,000 voters have already voted absentee, and 2.7 million voters requested absentee ballots, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said at a news conference Tuesday.

“We are on track for a record-breaking turnout,” Benson said.

Delta Township Clerk Mary Clark said she’s bracing for an “unprecedented election.”

"This critical legislation will give Michigan clerks the support we need during undoubtedly the most important election of our careers," Clark said. "Myself and clerks across the state are committed to ensuring the integrity and accuracy of this election."

State officials recommend that people who are voting by absentee to mail in their ballot by Oct. 19 to ensure it arrives by Election Day.

Michigan also has set up 1,000 drop-off boxes across the state for absentee voters who don’t want to mail their ballots. The list of drop-box locations is here.

More than 6,400 absentee ballots were rejected during this year’s primary election because they arrived after Election Day.

“It is essential and critical to ensure every voter can exercise their right to vote by absentee,” Whitmer said.

You can request an absentee voter ballot here.

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