Michigan law: Absentee voters can change vote before election

Changing your vote is legal in Michigan

WEST OLIVE, MICH. - Michigan one of four states where people who have turned in absentee or early ballots can change their votes.

The Ottawa County clerk says about 20,000 people have already turned in absentee ballots. But under Michigan law, they still have to time to change their mind. 

It's not over until it's over. That goes for the election and your vote, including for residents in Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Check it: Michigan Voters Guide

"Your vote is your voice," clerk Justin Roebuck said. "People sometimes don't even realize it's an option."

The option is simple. If you change your mind, you can change your absentee ballot.

"Michigan law allows you to change your ballot or spoil your ballot up until the point where it is counted in a tabulator, our absentee ballots are not counted prior to election day," Roebuck said.

If someone changes their vote, their original absentee ballot is then marked "spoiled" and set aside.

"It's probably a very small minority of voters,"  Roebuck said.

However, Roebuck says they did see some people changing their minds in the March primary voting.

"Voters were actually coming in and asking to have the clerks spoil the original ballot and issue them a new ballot and have them vote on that ballot," Roebuck said

Roebuck says it appears to be much more common for absentee voters to wait to cast their vote in the first place.

"We've issued a little over 30,000 absentee ballots, about 10,000 of those are still outstanding and waiting to come in,"  Roebuck said.

It's also uncommon for a state to allow voters to change their absentee or early ballots, like Michigan does. 

"It puts more demand, higher demand on our clerk's office staff and so I can understand why certain states would not want to allow that process, but in the end it's certainly something that every voter has a right to do," says Roebuck. 

The Ottawa County Clerk says you have until Nov. 7, the day before the election, to change your ballot. He says After that it's tricky, because if your ballot has already been counted on election day, it's too late. 

(© 2016 WZZM)


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