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Politics & Government

Whitmer, Benson Say Election Reforms Needed

election sign
Reginald Hardwick

Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson say people should expect later results once ballots are cast on Election Day – but there are things the Legislature can do to speed up the process and ensure every ballot is counted.


The Legislature’s Republican leaders have said “no” to adopting a new law that would allow ballots postmarked by 8 p-m on Election Day to be counted. That is as long as they arrive within 48 hours after polls close. 


Whitmer says that makes it important for voters to fill out and return in absentee ballots well before the deadline.

“If you haven’t already requested your absentee ballot, you can go online today and do that , and over safely from home,” she said in a Friday interview with Michigan Public Radio. “I would vote and get it right in as soon as you can.” 


Whitmer and Benson – who are both Democrats -- published an op-ed in the Sunday Detroit Free Press. 

In separate interviews, Benson said a record number of absentee and mail-in ballots are expected this November. 

 “We’re anticipating that we’re going to have twice as many ballots sent through the mail or voted early than ever before then in the history of our state,” Benson told CNN on Sunday. She also said it will probably be days before the final results are tallied. 

“And if that’s the case, then I’m going to spend every minute between when our polls close and when we have the full results proactively letting everyone know that until every vote is counted, we will not be able to say who won any race, and that’s the way that it should be.”


Benson and Whitmer want to allow election workers to start opening envelopes early so they are ready to be tabulated on election night. They also want every vote that is postmarked by 8 pm election night and arrives within 48 hours to be counted.

Requests for comment from the House and Senate GOP caucuses were not answered Sunday.

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