LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate gave the green light for clerks to start processing mail-in ballots for the November election a day earlier than usual, on Tuesday.
Senate Bill 757 now heads to the state House. A record setting of 2.1 million absentee ballots have been requested according to the Secretary of State’s office.
Clerks across Michigan have asked for the legislature’s help to try and prevent huge delays in election day results. The proposed legislation has bipartisan support and would amend Michigan election law temporarily.
There is what’s called a sunset provision attached to the bill, which means if signed into law it would not continue past the November election.
Staff would be able to process mail-in ballots starting at 10 a.m. and until 8 p.m. the day before the election as long as the municipality has a population of at least 25,000.
Meridian Township Clerk Brett Dreyfus hopes the bill gets final approval in time.
“Our absentee voter list has just skyrocketed. As of today we’re at about 16,000 absentee voter ballots that are going to be mailed out on Sept 24,” said Dreyfus. “We need the ability to process those before election day. Otherwise it can take a super long time to be able to get the ballots counted.”
Delta Township Clerk Mary Clark believes the legislation could save her office around 8 hours of time.
“It’s not running the ballots through the tabulator that takes a long time, it’s all the other steps that you do to get up to the point that you’re ready to run them through the tabulator,” said Clark.
Clerks and their staff would be able to open absentee envelopes, but not take ballots out of the secrecy sleeves.
“We would have liked to have been able to prepare them totally for running through the tabulator, which would be initially taking them out of the secrecy sleeve, removing the stub, and flattening them out to stack them to run them through the tabulator,” said Clark.
Nevertheless, Clark is grateful for the possibility of more help.
“It’s a huge bonus for me and for probably the city of Lansing. There are cities that are larger than Lansing that this will still be a challenge for them,” said Clark.
Also, a former clerk provided new information to Fox 47. She wants to remind voters that they can still vote with or without a driver’s license.
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