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Gov. Whitmer approves earlier processing of absentee ballots

Posted at 1:39 PM, Oct 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-06 18:15:38-04

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Clerks in Michigan cities or township of at least 25,000 people can start processing a surge of absentee ballots a day before November’s presidential election under legislation signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

That announcement was made Tuesday, alongside Secretary of State, Jocelyn Benson and Delta Township Clerk, Mary Clark.

Gov. Whiter said, "Whether you mail-in your absentee ballot, or you drop it off to your local clerk, or you vote in person on Election Day, your vote will be counted on November 3rd.”

About 2.7 million voters have requested ballots so far, many more than in 2016.

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson projects more residents will vote than at any point in state history.

Benson said that 400,000 absentee ballots have been returned already.

“We are on track for record-breaking turnout in our state this fall, where I anticipate more citizens, more voters, will cast ballots than ever before in our states history and that’s truly remarkable in the midst of this global pandemic, that citizens want to vote and they’ve been demonstrating that every election we’ve had this year," Benson said.

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

The new law lets them be opened between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 2.

Delta Township Clerk, Mary Clark said she's thankful on behalf of all Michigan clerks for the chance to make a dent in what's sure to be a lengthy process.

“This legislation allowing 10 hours of pre-processing time on Monday will certainly help us to have a head start. While as Michigan clerks we are extremely grateful for this tool, we urge you all to be cognizant of the reality that we will not have election results at 8:05 PM,” Clark said.

If you are mailing-in your ballot, officials say those should be in the mail no later than October 19th.

For more information about absentee voting, voting at your local clerks office, registering, or to find your precinct to vote in-person on Election Day, visit michigan.gov/vote.

Key Dates and Deadlines

Thursday, Sept. 24: Early voting begins, absentee ballots begin being mailed
Monday, Oct. 19: Online, postmarked-by voter registration deadline
Tuesday, Oct. 20 through 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 3: In-person registration allowed with local clerk
Friday, Oct. 30 at 5 p.m.: Deadline to request absentee ballot by mail
Monday, Nov. 2: Absentee/mail-in postmarked-by deadline
Tuesday, Nov. 3: In-person voting