Michigan secretary of state offers last-minute election advice

Published: Oct. 30, 2020 at 3:13 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - Michigan voters still have plenty of changes to cast an absentee ballot, vote early or even change their vote if they turned in a ballot already, according to the Michigan Secretary of State’s Office.

More than 2.6 million ballots had been cast in Michigan by Friday morning, according to Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. that amounts to over half of the 5.08 million ballots cast in the 2008 presidential election, which is the state record.

More than 3 million voters requested absentee ballots for Tuesday’s vote.

“Michigan citizens are making their voices heard, confident that our elections will be an accurate reflection of the will of the people,” Benson said.

Here are tips and advice for voters as Election Day nears in Michigan:

Registration through Election Day: Residents who aren’t registered to vote yet can do so through 8 p.m. on Tuesday at their local clerk’s office. Anyone in line by that time will be allowed to register and vote. Voters must be at least 18 years old and bring a proof of residency, such as a utility bill or photo ID card.

Early voting: Local clerks offices are required to be open for at least eight hours this weekend and on Monday to allow early voting. Voters can request a ballot, fill it out and return it in one trip by 4 p.m. Nov. 2.

Absentee ballots: Voters who already obtained an absentee ballot should fill it out, sign the back of the envelope and return it no later than 8 p.m. Tuesday. Benson said it’s too late to count on the U.S. Postal Service to deliver ballots on time, so they should be returned in person or placed in a designated drop box. Click here to track whether your ballot has been received.

Missing or lost absentee ballot: Everyone who requested an absentee ballot should have received it by now. Anyone who is still waiting on their ballot to arrive should visit or call their local clerk’s office.

Have an absentee ballot but want to vote in person: Voters who requested and received an absentee ballot but would rather vote at the polls on Tuesday should bring their ballot with them. Poll workers will take the blank absentee ballot and issue a new ballot for voters to fill out at the polls.

Want to change a vote: Anyone who cast an absentee ballot or participated in early voting can change or cancel their vote by 10 a.m. Monday. Visit or call your local clerk’s office for the procedure. Voters will not be allowed to change or cancel an absentee ballot on Election Day.

Voter intimidation: Michigan laws make voter intimidation a felony. Anyone who feels intimidated, harassed or coerced at the polls should report it to an election worker or their local clerk immediately. Benson imposed a ban on openly carrying weapons near the polls, but Michigan courts struck it down. That means people will be allowed to have weapons near many polling locations. Some voting sites at churches or schools don’t allow weapons under state law.

Results will be delayed: With a massive influx of absentee ballots cast this year, Benson said residents shouldn’t expect full results from Tuesday’s vote possibly until Friday. Absentee ballots take longer to process and Michigan clerks only are allowed to remove them from the outside envelope ahead of Election Day. Pairs of election workers -- one from each major political party -- count absentee ballots to remove any potential bias.

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