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More Michigan voters choosing to vote absentee for midterm elections

Karel Vega
Ballot requests in some mid-Michigan counties have more than doubled from 2018.

Data from the Secretary of State indicates more Michigan residents are voting absentee for this year's midterm elections than in past cycles.

Ballot requests in some mid-Michigan counties have more than doubled from 2018.

In a press release, the Secretary of State’s office said nearly 2 million voters statewide have requested absentee ballots for the midterm elections. That’s 73% more requests than the week before the midterms in 2018.

In Ingham County, requests for absentee ballots are up by 90%, and absentee ballots submitted are 83% higher than in 2018.

In Lansing, requests for absentee ballots have more than doubled relative to four years ago.

Angela Benander, deputy chief of communications for the Secretary of State's office, said absentee voting has been increasing since 2018. That year, voters approved a constitutional amendment to allow absentee voting in the state for any reason.

She said the department is working with clerks to help them handle the higher absentee ballot turnout.

“Clerks are ready and able to accommodate the volume of absentee ballots that are being cast,” Benander said.

Officials are urging voters to be patient with election results. They expect to finish counting all votes within 24 hours after the polls close.

A new law allows clerks to begin pre-processing absentee ballots this Sunday, two days before the election. Benander said clerks would have benefited from permission to take additional pre-processing measures that would have made the count faster. She said it’s going to take some time to count all the votes.

“While we've been working with clerks to be as efficient as possible, we are always clear that their priorities have to be security and accuracy and counting all of the ballots,” Benander said.

At this point, voters who still need to submit their absentee ballots should deliver them by hand to their local clerk’s office or a secure drop box.

    Arjun Thakkar is WKAR's politics and civics reporter.
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