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SOS, governor urge Michigan voters to get ballots in early

More than 2.2 million absentee ballot requests have been submitted as of Tuesday, Sept. 15.
Credit: Governor's office

State leaders on Wednesday urged voters to get their absentee ballots in as soon as possible to avoid possible delays. 

"To those of you who have not yet requested your absentee ballot, go online and request it today. Michiganders should start taking action now. Today is the day to have a plan for voting," said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer during a Wednesday press conference.

More than 2.2 million absentee ballot requests have been submitted as of Tuesday, Sept. 15, according to the Secretary of State's office. 

SOS Jocelyn Benson said the state is preparing for 60-70% of citizens to vote absentee in this election, shattering the record set during the August primary. 

Starting Sept. 24, local clerks will begin mailing out absentee ballots. Voters have the option to mail or drop off those ballots at the clerk's office or at the area drop box. There is also an option to vote early in person at the clerk's office starting next week and up until Nov. 2. 

“Already we’ve had three successful elections this year which saw record turnout, record numbers of citizens voting by mail, and little to no crowding on Election Day. We are on track to replicate this success in November,” said Benson. “Our clerks are doing their part, working tirelessly as they have all year to juggle unprecedented challenges while embracing record turnout. But they and voters need support from the federal government and our state legislature.”

Benson and Whitmer called on state legislators to pass laws that prevent delayed election results and voter disenfranchisement. So far, the Senate has passed a bill that would allow clerks some additional hours to pre-process ballots ahead of the election.

"That is indeed a step in the right direction. States like Florida, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio and many others have additional days and time that go beyond the 10 hours granted in the legislation passed yesterday," Benson said. "The State Senate proposal will ultimately net our clerks an average of three additional hours to process ballots and that is simply not enough if we're going to meet the extraordinary demands."

As of Wednesday, the state reported 680 new coronavirus cases and 11 deaths. The statewide total is 113,863 cases and 6,623 deaths. There have been 85,513 recoveries. 

Michiganders can register to vote or request an absentee ballot online at Michigan.gov/Vote. Benson also asked anyone who sees anything they deem suspicious about the right to vote this year to send it to her office at misinformation@michigan.gov.

Watch the full press conference here.

WATCH LIVE | State gives update on COVID-19 response

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun will provide an update regarding the state’s response efforts to COVID-19. More here: https://bit.ly/2FF6Oll

Posted by 13 On Your Side on Wednesday, September 16, 2020

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