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Michigan clerks ask for state's primary elections to be moved from August to June

Volunteers gather in Lansing's South Washington Elections Unit on Monday, Sept. 20, 2021 to prepare the first round of absentee ballots which will be mailed out Thursday, Sept. 23 in advance of November's general election.
Sarah Lehr
The state’s current election calendar sets the primary for state and congressional races in August.

Some elections administrators are urging the state legislature to shift Michigan’s primary election date back by two months.

The state’s current election calendar sets the primary for state and congressional races in August. That’s three months before the November general election.

But voters recently approved changes that could require local clerks to take longer to certify votes. That includes an extended periodfor ballots from military and overseas voters to be accepted.

Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum says the new requirements make the turnaround between the August and November elections too short.

"That compressed election calendar and the statutory pressures as well as the constitutional pressures may lead to mistakes being made, that could be avoided with additional time"

In an open letter to lawmakers from the legislative committees and leadership of the Michigan Association of County Clerks and the Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks, the elections administrators asked for the primary to be shifted to June.

"We are alerting the legislature of our concerns. And we have a remedy. We have a proposed remedy, and that is to change that primary election from August to June," Byrum said.

The legislature is currently debating a bill package to implement early voting requirements. Byrum says that package should include an earlier date for the primary.

Arjun Thakkar is WKAR's politics and civics reporter.
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