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Portage voters won't have to pay postage when submitting absentee ballots

Michigan's Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has offered to reimburse clerks across the state for the postage costs
Posted at 5:16 PM, Sep 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-25 17:16:47-04

PORTAGE, Mich. — Voters living within city limits will not have to worry about paying for postage to send back their absentee ballots.

According to Portage city clerk Erica Eklov, she and other clerks across the state were notified about 2 weeks ago that the Secretary of State's office would be willing to reimburse them the cost of return postage for voters in their jurisdiction.

"I know that the Secretary of State has been working to encourage voters not only to come out and vote on November 3, but she's also trying to encourage voting by absentee through the mail," Eklov told FOX 17 Friday afternoon.

"Just due to the COVID restrictions and trying to keep everyone healthy and safe.

As part of Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson's efforts to get more people to vote by mail her office has offered to reimburse the cost of return postage on ballots mailed back to the clerk, as long as jurisdictions are willing to front the cost.

“It is encouraging that it is more accessible, and that it is easier for voters,” Eklov said.

So if you have requested an absentee ballot, which you can still do, you will get a ballot in the mail to fill out and then mail back. If you live in Portage, that ballot will have a First Class Mail stamp on it where a regular stamp would typically go.

That means the postage has already been covered.

“And even though we have the postage paid stamp on here, voters are still more than welcome to drop their ballots in our drop boxes,” Eklov said.

You can fill out and send back your absentee ballot as soon as you are ready, no need to wait until November.

“If they know who they'd like to vote for or how they'd like to vote, they are more than welcome when they get that absentee ballot to vote and return it to our office, and we check it in when we get it,” Eklov said.

Once you drop it in the mail you can check the status of your ballot on the State of Michigan's website.

For those who prefer to just do the whole process in person on election day, Eklov said, “we'll have polling locations open for those folks that don't want to vote by absentee ballots."

"We will have safety measures in place. Our workers have masks and gloves and sanitizer, and cleaning supplies from the state of Michigan as well."