Midland County reports surge in absentee ballot requests
(6/29/2020) - Midland city and county officials have reported large increases in absentee ballot requests ahead of the August election.
Midland County Clerk Ann Manary said that absentee ballot requests across the county are way up.
“One of my jurisdictions, Homer Township, they normally do 200 to 300 an election, they’re up over 400 already," Manary said. "So it’s going to be a huge year.”
In the City of Midland, City Clerk Erica Armstrong said there have been nearly 5,000 absentee ballot requests to date with more than 3,300 of those already processed.
In the presidential primary in March, Armstrong said there were 2,903 ballots in the 45 days leading up to the election.
So why the surge?
“There are several different factors obviously," Manary said. "I would think probably one of the biggest factors is that the Secretary of State sent out an application for an absentee to every single registered voter in the state of Michigan, which is about 7.5 million people.”
Manary said that the pandemic is also likely playing a role because people might not want to leave their house to vote in person.
Last month's flooding could add even more applications on to the pile.
“We have a lot of folks who are displaced right now so they might not be getting their mail," Manary said. "They may not, you know, know that they can request an absentee so I think we’ll see some numbers go up there.”
With all of these absentee ballots and people voting in person, Manary said the next election is going to be a challenging one for election officials.
“We are going to have longer time for our results to come in, even though the polls close at eight,” she said. "I'm not sure whether or not all of my jurisdictions are going to be able to have all their absentees processed by 8 o'clock."
All of the county’s clerks are expected to meet next week to discuss their plans on how to manage all of these votes.
There is still time to apply for an absentee ballot, for more information visit the state's website or contact your local clerk's office.