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1 million absentee ballots in Michigan not yet returned

Michigan voters have returned 2.1 million ballots as of Tuesday, one week out from the Nov. 3 election.

Over three million voters have requested an absentee ballot in Michigan, and about one million of those ballots have not yet been returned. There's plenty of time to return them, but it is too late to mail them in, state and local officials say. 

"If you have an absentee ballot at home already, fill it out, sign the envelope, go to a drop box or your clerk's office or one of their satellite offices and drop it off," said Jake Rollow, communications director for Michigan Department of State, during a press call Tuesday. 

It's not too late to request an absentee ballot, either, but the deadline to request a ballot by mail is Friday, Oct. 30. An absentee ballot can be requested and voted in person at clerk's offices until Nov. 2 at 4 p.m. All absentee ballots must be voted and returned by 8 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 3.

In Kent County, over 70% of absentee ballots have been returned so far, said Clerk Lisa Posthumus Lyons.  Lyons said as of Tuesday morning, 205,073 ballots had been issued and 146,937 had been returned. In comparison, there was 68,967 absentee ballots returned during the 2016 general election.

"We continue to see what we saw in the August 2020 primary election and that is a huge influx of absentee voting," said Lyons, during a press conference.

And once ballots are returned, Rollow says, clerk's offices check the voter's signature to ensure it matches the signature on file and will contact the voter if the signatures do not match. 

"One of the reasons that we encourage voters to submit their ballots as soon as possible is to create and allow time for if they make a mistake like that for clerks to follow up with them," Rollow said. 

Absentee voters who wish to spoil their returned ballot and vote at the polls should do so as soon as possible, Rollow said. Absentee voters who would like to spoil their returned ballot and receive a new one must do so by 10 a.m. Nov. 2.

Go to michigan.gov/vote to find your jurisdiction's drop box and other voter information. 

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