Convenient option eases voting for residents who qualify
Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land reminds voters of the absentee ballot option in the upcoming Nov. 2 general election.
“Absentee ballots allow residents who might otherwise be unable to participate in the election to vote at their convenience,” Land said. “However, the deadline to obtain one is fast approaching. It’s easy to find out if you qualify. Simply visit the Michigan Voter Information Center for more information.”
The MVIC Web site is www.Michigan.gov/vote.
As a registered voter, you may obtain an absentee ballot if you are:
• age 60 or older
• physically unable to attend the polls without the assistance of another
• expecting to be out of town for the entire time the polls are open on Election Day
• in jail awaiting arraignment or trial
• unable to attend the polls due to religious reasons
• appointed to work as an election inspector in a precinct outside of your precinct of residence.
Voters who wish to receive their absentee ballot by mail have until 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30 to submit the application to their city or township clerk. Voters must include their name, address and the qualifying reason for requesting the ballot. An absentee ballot application is available at any local clerk’s office or online at www.Michigan.gov/vote. A request can also be submitted in a simple letter or on a postcard.
Voters can also track their absentee ballot online through this Web site. The absentee ballot tracking feature notes when an application for an absentee ballot has been received by the local clerk’s office, when the ballot was sent, and when the clerk received the returned ballot.
Registered voters may visit their city or township clerk’s office for an absentee ballot through 4 p.m. Monday, Nov. 1. Those who request a ballot in person on Nov. 1 must vote the ballot while in the clerk’s office. Absentee ballots must be returned to the clerk’s office by hand or by mail by 8 p.m. on Election Day. Emergency absentee ballots are available under certain conditions through 4 p.m. on Election Day.
Voters should note that if they have registered to vote by mail or via a voter registration drive and have never voted in Michigan, they are not eligible to vote by absentee ballot in their first election. They must vote in person at their precinct instead. However, this restriction does not apply to voters who are age 60 or older, disabled or overseas. The polls are open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day.
Absentee voters should remember to sign the return envelope. If a voter receives assistance in preparing the ballot, the signature of the person providing the assistance must also be on the return envelope. Signed absentee ballots can only be returned to a clerk’s office by the voter, a family member or person residing in the voter’s household, a mail carrier or election official.
When completing an absentee ballot, voters should be aware that building managers and staff cannot take possession of a person’s ballot, unless they are handling it as part of their duties to collect that building’s outgoing mail. It is also illegal to vote in a group setting. Residents should not attend any meeting at which the residents of their building or members of an organization to which they belong are being asked to vote at the same time.
Military and overseas voters are reminded of federal rules that allow ballots to be sent to them by e-mail or fax. This helps to ensure that ballots are returned in time to be counted on Election Day. The ballots can be mailed, e-mailed or faxed to military and overseas voters at the voter’s request. Voters then return the ballots by mail.
Voters eligible to receive a ballot by e-mail or fax include members of uniformed services, their spouses and dependents who are away from their city or township of residence. They may be located inside or outside the U.S. Civilian voters outside the U.S. who are eligible to vote in Michigan also qualify.
For additional information, visit the Michigan Voter Information Center at www.Michigan.gov/vote or contact your local clerk.