LANSING — With just two weeks until the election, Michigan’s secretary of state is urging voters to hand deliver their absentee ballots.
Jocelyn Benson told the media during a press conference that voters are being urged to not risk post office delays.
“Only the absentee ballots received by 8 p.m. on November 3 can be counted, and voters should not risk possible postal delays this close to the deadline,” she said. “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.”
As of Monday, Oct. 19, nearly 1.5 million Michiganders had already submitted their absentee ballots and nearly 3 million had requested them.
Registered voters can request absentee ballots until 4 p.m. on Nov. 2. Eligible citizens can register to vote at their local clerk’s offices through Nov. 3 with proof of residency to register.
Voters can find their local clerk’s office and ballot drop box locations at Michigan.gov/Vote and they can also track their absentee ballots to ensure they were received.
“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,” Benson said. “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.”
On Friday, Oct. 16, Benson issued a directive clarifying that the open carry of firearms is not permitted in or within 100 feet of voting locations on Election Day to prevent voter intimidation.
Benson also noted that voting at polling places on Election Day will be safe and secure as her staff have distributed personal protective equipment, including masks, gloves, face shields and hand sanitizer to jurisdictions across the state. They have also issued protocols for hygiene and social distancing.
“The right to vote is one of our most – if not the most – fundamental and sacred constitutional rights we hold as American citizens,” she said. “The United State Supreme Court has repeatedly emphasized its preeminence in well-established case law and legal opinions. 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.”