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Michigan voters receiving postcards encouraging absentee voting in November

The Secretary of State is spending $1.4 million to mail 4.4 million postcards
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson(WJRT)
Published: Aug. 13, 2020 at 11:28 AM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - With Michigan’s record August primary election past, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson is shifting her focus to encourage voters to seek absentee ballots in November.

She is spending $1.4 million to mail every registered voter in Michigan a postcard encouraging them to apply for an absentee ballot from their local clerk. About 4.4 million voters who are not on permanent absentee voting lists will get a postcard between Aug. 20 and Sept. 20.

Voters can begin requesting absentee ballots for the Nov. 3 general election on Aug. 20, which is 75 days before the vote. Funding for the postcards is coming from Michigan’s share of the Help America Vote Act.

“Last week’s primary election was a success in large part because a record-number of voters cast their ballots from home, helping all voters and election workers stay safe during the pandemic,” said Benson. “To ensure similar success and safety in November, when turnout is expected to double or even triple, voters must know they have the right to vote from home and how to do so.”

She also announced that the Michigan Bureau of Elections will spend an additional $5.5 million to support absentee voting in November. That funding includes:

  • $2 million to reimburse local clerks who pay postage on ballot return envelopes.
  • $1.5 million to reimburse local clerks who order envelopes redesigned to U.S. Postal Service standards.
  • $1 million for clerks to buy ballot drop boxes, automatic letter openers and other absentee ballot processing equipment.
  • $1 million to for clerks to buy additional ballot tabulators and high speed scanners for absentee ballots.

All of the funding also comes from Michigan’s Help America Vote Act allotment. Benson said the investment will encourage more voters to participate in the November general election from their homes without risking exposure to coronavirus at the polls.

“The only missing piece is action from state lawmakers, who need to do their part to support our elections, clerks and voters,” she said.

Benson again called on the Republican-led Michigan Legislature to pass bills that would allow clerks to process absentee ballots before Election Day, allow absentee ballots to count if they are postmarked by Election Day and arrive up to two days later and require clerks to contact voters if the signature on the absentee ballot doesn’t match their voter registration file.

Copyright 2020 WJRT. All rights reserved.

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