November absentee voter requests open Thursday

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Thursday marked 75 days to the Nov. 3 election, which means voters can now request an absentee ballot.

You can go to the Michigan Secretary of State’s Office website to request your absentee ballot or reach out to your local clerk.

Grand Rapids City Clerk Joel Hondorop explained that voters who were on his permanent absentee application list got their application for the August primary and November election at the same time in June. If you didn’t return an application, you’ll get another one in the mail.

The actual ballots won’t start going out until the end of September, but once you get yours and vote, you can return it through the mail, drop it off at your clerk’s office or use the drop box in your area.

More than 1.6 million absentee ballots were cast in the August primary, and Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson is expecting about twice that many for the presidential election, which always draws higher voter turnout.

Benson is sending an extra $5.5 million to local clerks to help them handle those ballots, including money to reimburse postage, redesign envelopes and pay for drop boxes and other vote counting equipment.

Her office is also sending out postcards to explain Michigan’s absentee voter law to residents.

State officials have pushed absentee voting as a coronavirus mitigation measure, but in-person voting will still be available in November.