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Sec. of State Benson: More than 3 million voters have requested absentee ballots for Nov. election

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

More than half of the three million requested absentee ballots have already been cast, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said at a press conference on Tuesday. 

Benson said that voters have received nearly all of the three million absentee ballots they have requested with two weeks left to go before Election Day. 

"When you reflect on the fact that just under 4.8 million voted in the November 2016 election, the fact that two weeks out, already three million are on track to vote early in this election is just extraordinary," said Benson, predicting that the number of absentee ballot requests will continue to climb.

"The fact that the voters on all sides throughout the state are responding by requesting ballots and returning them early, and our infrastructure is set up to make that happen, is just an extraordinary success story," said Benson.

According to Benson, the numbers underscore Michiganders' confidence in the integrity of the state's time-tested vote-by-mail system.

Benson is urging the 1.5 million voters who still have absentee ballots in hand to hand-deliver them to their local clerk's office or to an official ballot dropbox. 

"Only the absentee ballots received by 8 p.m. on November 3 can be counted," said Benson. "And voters should not risk possible postal delays this close to the deadline."

Benson said voters who still plan to request an absentee ballot may do so through November 2. She urges them to visit their clerk's office to make the request in person, instead of by mail, and they can fill out and submit the ballot in one trip.

Eligible voters can register to vote at their local clerk's office through November 3. They need to bring proof of residency to register, and they can vote in the clerk's office on the same visit. 

Benson noted her commitment to keeping the polls safe and secure for in-person voting.

"From a health standpoint, we are doing all that data and best practices indicate are needed to ensure safe access to the polls on Election Day," Benson said. "And of course, physical safety is critical as well."

Benson said those measures include protocols for social distancing, the distribution of personal protective equipment for all election workers, and her recent directive banning the open carry of firearms on Election Day within 100 feet of voting locations to prevent voter intimidation.


Virginia Gordan has been a part-time reporter at Michigan Radio since fall 2013. She has a general beat covering news topics from across the state.
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