Mail-in ballots must be received by November 3 in order to be counted. That’s according to a Michigan Court of Appeals decision that blocked a lower court ruling that would have allowed ballots to be counted as long as they were postmarked by Election Day and received within two weeks of the election.
“It is beneficial to clerks, it is beneficial to voters to get their absentee ballots in as soon as possible…” — Secretary of State Spokesperson Jake Rollow
In the August Primary, more than 6,000 ballots in Michigan arrived past the deadline of 8 p.m. on Election Day, which prevented them, by law, from being counted.
In September, a Court of Claims judge ruled on a lawsuit allowing ballots in the November election to be counted if they arrived up to 14 days after the election as long as they were postmarked by November 2. The Michigan Court of Appeals overturned the earlier decision on Friday, making it so ballots once again need to arrive by 8 p.m. on Election Day. Read the opinion »
Drop-Off, Don’t Mail, Absentee Ballots
In order to ensure absentee ballots arrive by Election Day, state election officials say voters who still have an absentee ballot should not put it in the mail. Instead, officials want voters to bring their ballots to their local clerk’s office or place them in a ballot drop box.
Secretary of State Spokesperson Jake Rollow says while a ballot mailed by October 19 might arrive in time, it’s not worth the gamble.
“It is beneficial to clerks, it is beneficial to voters to get their absentee ballots in as soon as possible. So that they have them in hand, you know, we’re saying, fill them out, sign the back… take them directly to their clerk’s office or their clerk’s drop box.”
Voters can look up the location of their clerk’s office and ballot drop boxes in their community here.