Michigan Sec. of State to Mail Absentee Ballot Applications Ahead of Fall Elections

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson will mail applications for absentee ballots to all voters for the August and November elections.

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced Tuesday that absentee ballot applications will be mailed to all 7.7 million registered voters in Michigan for the August primary and November general election. 

Under Benson says this is something that voters want.

Click on the player above to hear Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson on absentee voter applications for fall elections.

“Studies have found this across the board that vast majorities of Americans from both sides of the political spectrum want the option to vote by mail,” Benson says. “I think one of the reasons why citizens voted overwhelmingly in 2018 to amend our constitution to give themselves the right to vote by mail.”

Under state Proposition 3, passed in 2018, voters don’t need a formal excuse to request an absentee ballot. An application for a ballot is different than the actual ballot. In a tweet Wednesday, President Donald Trump incorrectly said Benson was sending out absentee ballots. Trump threatened to withhold federal money from Michigan in response to the move, but it’s unclear if he has the power to do so. 

Benson, who was interviewed by WDET’s Russ McNamara before Trump’s criticism, says the process is set-up to make voter fraud difficult.

“When you register to vote you sign your form. When you request a ballot be sent to you, you sign that form. And when you get your ballot and return it, you sign the envelope on the outside of that ballot. All of those signatures must match in order for your ballot to be counted.”

Benson says she expects voter turnout to increase with these changes.

It will cost the state roughly $4.5 million to send out the applications and process the ballots. Republicans say that money would be better spent on personal protective equipment for poll workers and voters.

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  • Russ McNamara
    Russ McNamara is the host of All Things Considered for 101.9 WDET, presenting local news to the station’s loyal listeners. He's been an avid listener of WDET since he moved to metro Detroit in 2002.