91.7 Ann Arbor/Detroit 104.1 Grand Rapids 91.3 Port Huron 89.7 Lansing 91.1 Flint
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Absentee voting surges in Tuesday's primary, with near-record turnout

straight-party voting
Lars Plougmann
Creative Commons
The Secretary of State says 95.5% of eligible voters are registered

Just 1 in 5 Michigan voters cast a ballot Tuesday. While that doesn’t sound like a lot, it’s actually close to a record high turnout for this kind of primary.

“There were a number of highly-contested congressional primaries across the state, so that helped drive interest,” says Fred Woodhams, spokesperson from the Michigan Secretary of State’s office.

Another big part of that uptick is thanks to absentee voting. Of the 1.4 million voters who cast a ballot Tuesday, more than 522,000 were absentee.  That's a "massive increase" from 322,000 four years ago, according to Woodhams. 

So clearly more people are opting for absentee ballots. But a lot of people want that option to get easier to use.

Right now you have to give a reason – like being out of town on election day, or over the age of 60 – if you want to vote absentee.

But the Secretary of State, Ruth Johnson, wants to make it legal to vote absentee without a reason, her spokesperson says.

“There’s a lot of working folks and working families in Michgian who might be fairly busy in the evenings and throughout the day on election day,” Woodhams says. “So it’d be great to allow them to be able to pick up a ballot ahead of time and cast that.”

If you want to vote absentee in the next election, you can go here to request a ballot. Or, if you want to register to vote, headhere.Not sure if you're registered yet? Click here to find out. 

Kate Wells is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently covering public health. She was a 2023 Pulitzer Prize finalist for her abortion coverage.
Related Content