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Here's what to know about early in-person voting that starts Saturday

Steve Carmody
Michigan Public

Early voting for Michigan’s February 27 primary election starts Saturday, February 17 and runs through February 25.

Early voting was approved by Michigan voters with the passage of Proposal 2 in 2022. For the first time in a statewide election, voters across Michigan will be able to cast a ballot in person before Election Day.

“We are here today because we are about to make history,” said Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson before a press conference about early voting on Thursday. “Every Michigan voter has more options than ever before in this election.”

Eligible Michigan voters will be able to cast a ballot at a early voting location. Voters who received an absentee ballot will also be able to turn that ballot in at an early voting site.

“The Bureau of Elections has been working tirelessly to develop the new technologies and procedure for early voting under the law,” Benson said.

“With early voting, voters are able to actually take their ballot, vote it in their clerk's office or satellite office, wherever that early voting site is, and then feed it into a tabulator,” said Melinda Billingsley of Voters Not Politicians, a group that supported Prop 2, in 2022. “Instead of voters waiting to see when their absentee ballot got counted, they are seeing their vote be tabulated right in front of them, the exact same way that voters do on Election Day.”

Billingsley said the new options will help cut back on long lines on Election Day.

“One thing we hope to see is that by spreading this traffic out, we see the whole process be a lot less stressful and go a lot more smoothly for voters and also our clerks and election workers,” she said.

Some clerks have expressed concerns about staffing. Billingsley hopes that efforts to recruit poll workers will help.

“Clerks can partner with a neighboring community or opt into a county level plan to provide early voting,” she said, pointing to a pilot program in Oakland County.

“Election workers said that everything went smoothly and voters really appreciated that option. So especially for our smaller local municipalities, we really think that using something like that countywide option can really alleviate some of those concerns they have," she said.

Secretary of State Benson said she and her team would “be in constant communication with clerks in each jurisdiction, and will be on the ground at early voting sites to ensure everyone has the support they need.”

You can find your early voting location here.

A.J. Jones is a newsroom intern and graduate of the University of Michigan-Dearborn. Sources say he owns a dog named Taffy.
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