With only two weeks to go until election day, Secretary Jocelyn Benson urged voters to cast their ballot in person at their local clerk's office to avoid any potential delays with the United States Postal Service.
“Voters who already have their absentee ballot should hand-deliver it to their city or township election clerk’s office or ballot drop box," Benson said in a statement. "Voters who still plan to request an absentee ballot should visit their clerk’s office to make the request in person, and fill out and submit the ballot all in one trip.”
Benson's recommendation follows continuing concerns from voters that ballots mailed to local clerk's offices won't be counted due to potential delays with the country's mailing systems. Previously reported changes to the USPS sparked intense controversy over the summer when widescale delays reported in the country's postal infrastructure could exasperate delays in votes.
Some of the nuances regarding Michigan's voting protocols like postmarks on absentee ballots and when clerks can begin tabulating mailed-in ballots have been challenged in the courts and the legislature.
After a circuit court extended the time that absentee ballots could be counted for 14 days, an appeals court overturned the ruling last week. The initial win for Democrats was rebuked by a 3-0 opinion handed down Oct. 16.
Not all changes have been denied, however. The legislature has approved bills that would allow election clerks to begin processing absentee ballots before election day.
The changes reflect the increasing role that mail-in ballots will play this election, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
So far, nearly 3 million citizens have requested absentee ballots and 1.5 million have already cast their vote.
Monday was the last day that voters could register by mail or online. For any citizens who haven't registered to vote yet, they can still do so in person. They may also request an absentee ballot through Nov. 2, a day before election day.