LANSING -- The state Legislature needs to do more to head off a likely record shattering Election Day in November, Governor Gretchen Whitmer said during a Wednesday press conference.
On Sept. 15, the state Senate passed a bill which would allow election officials in communities with at least 25,000 residents to start processing absentee ballots a day early.
This is a step in the right direction and it will help ensure an efficient election, Whitmer said.
Im hopeful that the House will take a step as soon as they can and that we will continue to work together with the Secretary of State to make sure that Michigan is proud of how we handled this election in this unprecedented moment.
The election this past August saw record breaking voter turnout for an August primary, and officials are anticipating another large voter turnout in November.
Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said that SB 757 would only allow clerks a few more hours, and limited pre-processing. She said thats simply not enough, especially given that Michigan is on track for a record breaking turnout in November.
Our overall turnout will likely exceed five million," Benson said. And were also on track to have more people voting prior to Election Day than ever before, either through the mail or in person at their local clerks office.
Benson called on the Legislature to update laws in Michigan to make sure that ballots received after Election Day, but postmarked before Election Day are still able to be counted.
No voter should be disenfranchised due to delays in the postal service," she said.
As far as the federal government is concerned, Benson said she hoped it would send more funding to meet the unique needs of the upcoming election. She projected that more than three million people will vote absentee this November.
We are on track to have a successful election but we need everyone to do their part to ensure we pass that finish line successfully, Benson said.
Whitmer and Benson also urged residents to do their part and make a plan now for how they plan to vote - be it in person or by mail.
Democracy is a team sport and we all have a part to play this fall, Whitmer said. So no matter who youre voting for or how you choose to exercise your right to vote this fall, make your plan now and stick to it.
Ballots will begin being mailed on Sept. 24. Residents can fill out the ballot, sign the envelope, and mail it back, drop it in a Secretary of State dropbox, or drop it off in person to their local clerks office. Michiganders can also vote early, but in person, starting on Sept. 24. You show up at your local clerks office, fill out the ballot, and return it. This option is available until Monday, Nov. 2 at 4:00 p.m.
As Election Day gets closer, Benson warned against misinformation designed to deter people from voting either by mail or in person. She told people to report any information they come across that sounds confusing, wrong, or nefarious to her office by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
We can and we will succeed to ensure our voices, the voices of all of our citizens are heard and that every vote is counted," Benson said. "But its going to take every single one of us working together, making a plan to vote, and remaining vigilant against attempts to misinform our citizens to ensure that we cross that finish line successfully.
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