With the November election now just two weeks out, Michigan’s Secretary of State is urging absentee voters to hand-deliver ballots to their local election clerk’s offices or ballot drop boxes rather than dropping them into the mail.
Saying that more than 1.5 million absentee ballots have already been cast, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson conducted a virtual press conference today, and issued the message regarding timelines, saying, “Only the absentee ballots received by 8 pm on November 3rd can be counted, and voters should not risk possible postal delays this close to the deadline.”
Benson issued the call saying, “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 November 2nd, 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 November 3rd. 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.
You can find your clerk’s office and ballot drop box locations at this link: http://Michigan.gov/Vote. At that same site you can also track your absentee ballot to ensure it was received.
As of yesterday, Monday, October 19th, more than 1.5 million Michigan citizens had already cast absentee ballots, and nearly 3 million citizens had requested them. Benson says, “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,” while adding, “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, last Friday, October 16th, “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.
Benson says, “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,” and concludes, “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.”