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Michigan Legislature poised to ease the processing of ballots

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In this Sept. 8, 2020 photo, voting booths are kept socially distant at the Chesterfield, N.H. polling site. A majority of President Donald Trump’s supporters plan to cast their ballot on Election Day, while about half of Joe Biden’s backers plan to vote by mail. That’s according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research that finds 54% of voters say they will vote before polls open on Nov. 3. (Kristopher Radder/The Brattleboro Reformer via AP)

LANSING, Mich. (AP) – Michigan lawmakers are poised to ease clerks’ ability to process a surge of absentee ballots in the battleground state’s presidential election, letting them start a day earlier than normal.

Election officials currently cannot remove ballots from outer envelopes until 7 a.m. on Election Day – Nov. 3.

Legislation nearing Gov. Gretchen Whitmer would allow opening between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 2. Ballots would remain in secrecy envelopes until being counted.

The Republican-led House plans to pass the bill Thursday afternoon, and the Senate is likely to follow suit later in the day.

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