Count Them Early: Surge of absentee ballots

Gretchen Whitmer

New legislation signed by Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer will allow clerks in cities or townships of at least 25,000 people can begin processing a surge of absentee ballots a day ahead of the November 3 election.

So far, 2.7 million voters requested ballots and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson anticipates more residents will vote than any previous election in Michigan’s history.

Previously, election officials were not permitted to remove ballots from outer envelopes until 7 a.m. on election day.

The new law will allow them to be open between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. the day before election day.

This allows for shifts at absentee counting boards so that tired workers no longer have to stay so long.

The new law also requires clerks to notify a voter whose ballot application or ballot is rejected in addition to security requirements for boxes where voters can drop their absentee ballots instead of sending by mail.