Michigan sets new record for absentee voting

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A woman sends up a prayer before leaving her absentee ballot in a return drop box in downtown Grand Rapids on Oct. 20, 2020.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — One week out from the Nov. 3, Michigan has already set a new record for absentee ballots.

The Michigan Secretary of State’s Office said Tuesday morning that 2.1 million ballots had already been cast absentee. That number represents ballots that have passed preliminary security checks verifying signatures and been accepted by clerks’ offices.

Data from the state shows the city of Grand Rapids has issued nearly 60,000 ballots and gotten 39,677 back. Kalamazoo has issued about 20,600 and gotten 14,334 back. Holland has issued nearly 9,900 and received 6,842, Muskegon has issued about 9,100 and received 6,407.

The previous record for absentee ballots was 1.6 million, set in August. With 3.1 million absentee ballots requested in Michigan this year, when all is said and done, the state could see more than double the 1.3 million absentee ballots cast in November 2016.

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson reminded absentee voters who haven’t sent their ballots back yet to do so only by dropping them off at their local clerk’s office or at a drop box in their jurisdiction, saying it’s too close to Election Day to ensure they will arrive in time if mailed. Ballots must be in the clerk’s office by 8 p.m. Election Day to be counted.

You can still register to vote in person at your local clerk’s office and cast an absentee ballot right then and there.

Michigan voters will see long ballots this time: In addition to the hotly contested presidential election, they are choosing a U.S. senator, U.S. representatives, state House members, state Supreme Court justices and local judges, university board members, county prosecutors and sheriffs, and deciding on two statewide ballot questions, plus any local proposals.

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