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Judge rules absentee ballots postmarked by Nov. 2, received two weeks after election will count in Nov. election

Published: Sep. 18, 2020 at 5:05 PM EDT
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MICHIGAN (WJRT) - There’s been a major shakeup in how absentee ballots will be processed for the November election. Ballots postmarked by November 2nd and received within two weeks of the election will be counted, a Michigan judge ruled Friday.

Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephens issued the ruling following a case that was brought by the Michigan Alliance for Retired Americans against Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson.

“I’m glad. I’m excited. It isn’t that voter’s fault. They voted before the deadline. That’s what you have to understand, and that’s what’s important. They voted before 8:00 election day,” said Genesee County Clerk John Gleason.

While those ballots will get counted, don’t bank on finding out results election night or the next morning.

“There’s going to be a lot of consternation. There’s no question it’s going to really slow down the tabulation of the votes,” Gleason added.

With a sample size of 600, 52% of people in Michigan surveyed in a recent exclusive ABC12 EPIC MRA poll said they plan to vote absentee. Grand Blanc Township Clerk Cathy Lane said despite the ruling, to still mail those ballots in early and make sure the envelope is signed.

“We’re having people not sign, they’re signing improperly, husbands are signing for wives. We very closely look at their master cards and if it isn’t the signature we have on file, we’re calling and sending letters to those people," Lane said.

One registered voter we spoke with in Genesee County has been voting absentee for 8 years. For him, it’s all about convenience.

“I’m old enough. 76. That’s when I started doing that, cause I don’t have to go and get in line,” said John Budke.

That exclusive ABC12 EPIC MRA poll also revealed 46% of people plan to vote in person, like Emily Carlton who is not yet registered to vote because she just turned 18, but plans on doing so prior to election day.

“I thought that going into the polls would make it more of a memorable experience. I just want the actual experience of voting in person than doing an absentee ballot,” Carlton said.

And if voting in person, municipal clerks are working diligently to make sure the process is done smoothly and safely.

Voters will be expected to wear masks along with election workers, social distancing will be enforced as well as the use of hand sanitizer.

“We want informed voters to make sure they follow the procedures and get their vote in so it can be counted in this very important election,” Lane added.

To learn more about the upcoming November election in Michigan, click here: https://www.michigan.gov/sos/0,4670,7-127-1633-49313--,00.html

Copyright 2020 WJRT. All rights reserved.

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