Absentee ballot requests up by 1 million from 2016

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Lansing, Mich. (WLNS) — Requests for absentee ballots have increased by 350 percent compared to the same time ahead of the 2016 state primary, according to data released today by the Michigan Department of State.

“Michigan voters have embraced their right to vote from home with enormous enthusiasm,” said Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson.

A side by side comparison of the June data is below. A breakdown of the numbers by jurisdiction is available here.

 35 Days Before Election (June 28, 2016)35 Days Before Election (June 30, 2020)
Number of Applications Returned378,3171,323,922
Number of Ballots Issued283,7311,005,989
Number of Ballots Returned17,59029,760
New Voter Registrations (June 1-30)23,83935,278

Michiganders voted overwhelmingly to amend the state constitution in 2018 to expand voting access in multiple ways, including allowing all voters to vote absentee without providing a reason. Secretary Benson ensured that all of the state’s 7.7 million registered voters were mailed an application and instructions to safely vote from home.

“This significant increase in those requesting to vote by mail already this year confirms they recognize that this option is a safe, secure and convenient way for them to ensure their voices are heard, even in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic,” said Benson.

When a voter receives their absentee ballot, they should fill it out carefully, noting that in these state primary elections they can only vote for one party. Once completed, they must place the ballot into the secrecy sleeve and then into the return envelope. Once the envelope is sealed, the voter must sign the back of the envelope. This signature will be compared to the signatures election officials have on file, and must match for the ballot to be counted.

Voters are encouraged to return their ballots as soon as possible. They can do so by mail, or by bringing it to a ballot drop box or their local election clerk’s office. Voters should contact their election clerk’s office for hours of operation and drop box locations. Personalized clerk contact information is at Michigan.gov/Vote.

Accessible absent voter ballot applications are available for blind voters and other voters with severe disabilities that prevent them from voting absent voter ballots privately and independently. These voters may use the accessible application on the absentee voting page of the MDOS website to apply for an accessible electronic ballot that can be marked remotely using assistive technology on an electronic device.  

“My administration will continue collaborating, working with and supporting local jurisdictions  to ensure voters have numerous safe voting options, including returning their ballot by mail or at their clerk’s office, or by voting in person at their clerk’s office early or at their polling place on Election Day,” said Secretary Benson.

Michiganders can register to vote and request an absentee ballot at Michigan.gov/Vote.

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