How to Complete the 2020 Michigan Absent Voter Ballot

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| 2 min | by Doug Marrin |

Sources: State of Michigan and Ballotpedia

Absent voter ballots are being requested in record numbers this election year. Some municipalities in the area are reporting as many as one-third of its registered voters have already turned in their ballots.

If you are among the two-thirds (or more) yet to vote, here is some concise information on the process of voting without going to the polls.

ALL REGISTERED VOTERS ARE ELIGIBLE TO VOTE BY MAIL

Due to the passage of the statewide ballot proposal 18-3, all eligible and registered voters in Michigan may now request an absent voter ballot without providing a reason.

Absent voter ballot applications (not the actual ballot) were sent automatically to all voters in the general election for Nov. 3, 2020.

If you are a registered voter and have not received an application, one may still be requested.

REQUESTING AN ABSENT VOTER BALLOT

Voters that would like an absent voter ballot must first fill out an application form and submit it before receiving the actual ballot. Voters may request an absent voter ballot or accessible voter ballot in a variety of ways.

Voters can complete an online application at Michigan Voter Registration Center or submit an application, large print application, letter, or postcard to your local clerk. Find your local clerk at Michigan.gov/Vote.

Requests for absent voter ballots may be returned by hand, via postal mail, fax or email, as long as a signature is visible.

DEADLINE: Application for an absent voter ballot mailed
to you must be received by your local clerk no later than 5:00 p.m. the Friday before the election (Oct. 30). Registered voters can request an absent voter ballot in person at your clerk’s office anytime up until 4:00 p.m. on the day before the election (Nov. 2). This ballot must be completed at the clerk’s office.

RECEIVING YOUR ABSENT VOTER BALLOT

Read the ballot and instructions carefully. You may need to sign an envelope that comes with the ballot.

Voters have until 8:00 p.m. on Election Day (Nov. 3) to complete the ballot and return it to the clerk’s office. The ballot is only valid if the signature matches the signature on file. Only you, a family member or person residing in your household, a mail carrier, or election official is authorized to deliver your signed absent voter ballot to your clerk's office.

Deadlines: Returning an absent voter ballot in-person to your local clerk’s office is 8:00 p.m. on Election Day (Nov. 3).

Voters are allowed to have their ballots returned by a family member, a person residing in the voter’s household, or an election official between 5:01 p.m. on Oct. 30 to the close of polls on Election Day.

Ballots mailed in must be postmarked on or before Nov. 2.

Ballots postmarked Nov. 2, must be received by the clerk’s office no later than Nov. 17, 2020.

COUNTING ABSENT VOTER BALLOTS

Absent voter ballots may be counted on Nov. 3, 2020, before the polls close at the discretion of the jurisdiction.

For cities and townships with at least 25,000 people, absent voter ballots may be counted on Nov. 2, 2020.

OTHER NOTES

If an emergency, such as a sudden illness or family death prevents you from reaching the polls on Election Day, you may request an emergency absent voter ballot. Requests for an emergency ballot must be submitted after the deadline for regular absent voter ballots has passed but before 4 p.m. on Election Day. The emergency must have occurred at a time which made it impossible for you to apply for a regular absent voter ballot. Please contact your local clerk for more information about emergency absent voter ballots.

If a voter has already voted absentee and wishes to change their vote (because the candidate has dropped out of the race, or for any other reason), a voter can spoil their ballot by submitting a written request to their city or township clerk. The voter must sign the request and state if they would like a new absentee ballot mailed to them or if they will vote at the polls. This request must be received by 2 p.m. the Saturday before the election if received by mail. An absentee ballot may be spoiled in person at the clerk’s office until 4 p.m. the Monday prior to the election. The voter can obtain a new absentee ballot there or vote at the polls. There is no option on Election Day to spoil an absentee ballot that has been received by the clerk.

Check your voter registration at Michigan Voter Information Center Michigan.gov/Vote

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