In a call with media two weeks before Election Day, November 3, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson urged absentee voters to hand-deliver ballots to their local election clerk’s offices or ballot drop boxes.
“Only the absentee ballots received by 8 p.m. on November 3 can be counted, and voters should not risk possible postal delays this close to the deadline,” said Benson. “Voters who already have their absentee ballot should hand-deliver it to their city or township election clerk’s office or ballot drop box. Voters who still plan to request an absentee ballot should visit their clerk’s office to make the request in person, and fill out and submit the ballot all in one trip.”
Through Nov. 2, registered voters may request absentee ballots and submit them early at their local clerk’s offices. Eligible citizens can register to vote at their local clerk’s offices through Nov. 3. They will need to bring proof of residency to register, and they can also vote an absentee ballot early at the clerk’s office in the same visit.
Voters can find their clerk office and ballot drop box locations at Michigan.gov/Vote. At the same site they can also track their absentee ballot to ensure it was received.
As of Monday, Oct. 19, more than 1.5 million Michigan citizens had already cast absentee ballots, and nearly 3 million citizens had requested them. A breakdown of absentee ballot data by jurisdiction is available here. Because the data includes places where ballots had to be reissued because of printing errors, some jurisdictions are listed as having more ballots sent than applications received.
“We have worked to ensure every citizen has a right to vote absentee in Michigan and have implemented multiple levels of secure protocols and best practices that have been time-tested over decades in other states,” said Benson. “That’s why we can say with confidence that only valid absentee ballots will be counted, and they will be tabulated by bipartisan pairs of election workers trained to ensure votes are tallied without political bias and in accordance with elections law.”
Benson also noted that voting at polling places on Election Day will be safe and secure. Her administration has distributed personal protective equipment – including masks, gloves, face shields, and hand sanitizer– to jurisdictions across the state, as well as protocols for hygiene and social distancing.
Additionally, on Friday, Oct. 16, to prevent voter intimidation, she issued a directive clarifying that the open carry of firearms is not permitted in or within 100 feet of voting locations on Election Day.
“The right to vote is one of our most – if not the most – fundamental and sacred constitutional rights we hold as American citizens. The United State Supreme Court has repeatedly emphasized its preeminence in well-established case law and legal opinions,” said Benson. “As Michigan’s Chief Election Officer it is my duty and responsibility to protect from threat, suppression and intimidation every citizen’s right to vote.”