The coronavirus pandemic is creating a push across the country for voting by mail.
Today, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced all registered voters in Michigan will receive an application to vote by mail in those upcoming elections.
Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum tells 6 News this is the right thing to do to keep voters safe.
“COVID-19 will have a major impact on the way elections are run for the foreseeable future,” said Byrum in a press release. “The prospect of voting in person and risking potential exposure to the virus has election officials coming up with new ways to keep you safe… I’m very pleased that the Secretary of State it taking this initiative.”
Nancy Wang the Executive Director of Voters not Politicians says it’s a step in the right decision, but it could be easier by skipping the application process.
“Due to the health crisis, what we really need is to put an absentee ballot in every voter’s hands and we need the legislature to act to do that,” Wang said.
But not everyone feels the same way including former Secretary of State Ruth Johnson.
“We’re not in a time crunch anymore, why would you change the way we do it now? It costs millions of dollars and open it up to fraud because you’re sending out absentee ballot requests to people that are not elgible voters at all,” Johnson said.
Byrum says election officials are dedicated to make sure Michigan elections are safe.
“Any allegation that voting by absentee ballot in the state of Michigan is not secure is completely false,” Byrum said. “It is fear mongering, and it is unacceptable. Michigan elections are safe and secure. Our election officials work very hard to make sure that is the case and we stand ready to serve our voters.”
Voters Not Politicians will be hosting a webinar this Thursday with more information on how to protect public health during the 2020 elections.