DETROIT (WJBK) - By M.L. Elrick
It’s been nearly two weeks since I dropped off an absentee ballot application for a loved one, and that ballot still has not arrived.
With election day just five days away, we’re getting pretty nervous.
You see, despite all the billboards urging folks to vote, it’s pretty hard to do without a ballot. And the absentee ballot process is supposed to help. The way it works is you fill out an absentee ballot application, turn it in, and the ballot is sent to you within days. Then you need to fill out the ballot and send it back to your local clerk before the polls close at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 6.
I spoke to a worker at my local election clerk’s office and she says she has heard other complaints from people who applied for absentee ballots who have not yet received them. Now, that’s hardly a scientific sampling, so we’d like to hear from you or anyone you know who submitted a completed absentee ballot application who is still waiting for their ballot.
If this is a widespread problem, many voters could be left scrambling for a way to cast their vote before or on Tuesday. (Voters in Detroit may vote on Saturday and Sunday at the city clerk’s election headquarters at 2978 W. Grand Blvd.)
Absentee voting is especially popular this year. The Associated Press reported that the number of absentee ballots cast so far is well above 2014 levels. The AP also noted that the number of absentee ballots requested is almost as many as those sought for the 2016 presidential race.
As of last week, nearly 1.1 million absentee ballots had been sent out, and about 588,000 had been returned. For comparison, in the last Midterm election in 2014, 689,000 ballots had been sent and 354,000 had been returned. That's a two-thirds increase in absentee voting.
The deadline to request a ballot by mail is 2 p.m. Saturday and the latest you can vote by absentee ballot in person at a local clerk’s office is 4 p.m. Monday, according to Secretary of State spokesman Fred Woodhams. He says absentee ballots must be returned to the local clerk’s office by 8 p.m. Tuesday to be counted.
“At this point, we encourage people to deliver their ballot in person if possible,” Woodhams says.
If you still have not received your absentee ballot, please contact us on our Facebook page or call the news desk: 248-552-5100
Detroit voters who have requested absentee ballots can see where there ballot is by logging onto detroitav.ballottrax.net. It is free and easy to set up an account that will tell you whether your ballot has been mailed, as well as where it is in the process after you have mailed it back to the clerk’s office. Detroiters may also contact the Detroit Department of Elections at 313-876-0190