Returning Your Absentee Ballot? Officials Say Drop It Off, Don’t Mail It.

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Image credit: Photo: Jerome Vaughn / Photo Illustration: Meta Stange

There will be no extension for mailed in ballots after Michigan Court of Appeals decision requiring all ballots to be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day.

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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.

Related Coverage:

Everything You Need to Know to Vote in 2020

Avoid This Voting Mistake That Got 2,000 Ballots Thrown Out in August

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Laura Herberg, Community Reporter

Laura Herberg is a Community Reporter for 101.9 WDET, telling the stories about people inhabiting the Detroit region and the issues that affect us here. She has reported since 2010 without owning a car.

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2020 Voter Information Center

This post is a part of 2020 Voter Information Center.

This year's November federal, state and local elections are unprecedented in many ways, most significantly the expected surge in absentee voting in Michigan due to the coronavirus pandemic. 101.9 WDET is committed to offering trusted, accurate information on voting, ballot access and key issues. 

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