Michigan Lawmakers Cast Vote To Make It Easier To Process Surge Of Absentee Ballots

Sep 25, 2020

FILE - In this May 5, 2020, file photo, Jordan Smellie moves absentee ballots to be counted at City Hall in Garden City, Mich.
Credit (AP PHOTO/PAUL SANCYA, FILE)

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan lawmakers have voted to make it easier for clerks to process a surge in absentee ballots in the battleground state’s presidential election by letting them start a day earlier than usual. Officials currently cannot remove ballots from outer envelopes until 7 a.m. on Election Day, which is Nov. 3 this year. The legislation would let them be opened between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 2, in cities or townships with at least 25,000 residents. Ballots would have to remain in secrecy envelopes until being counted on Nov. 3. The Republican-led Legislature passed the bill overwhelmingly Thursday.

Early voting for the 2020 general election is underway in Michigan under expanded voting rights that allow any resident to request an absentee ballot. The state says that nearly 2.4 million residents have already requested ballots amid concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. With 40 days until the Nov. 3 election, residents are encouraged to turn in their ballots early to avoid any mail delays. People can also vote early in person and on Election Day.