Michigan voters return absentee ballots for Nov. 3 election

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Election officials in West Michigan are beginning to see absentee ballots returned after clerks began responding to applications from voters last week. 

Thursday marked the first day people could cast a ballot for the Nov. 3 election under expanded voting rights.

Kent County Clerk Lisa Posthumus Lyons said it’s important to note absentee voting is underway, but Michigan is not designated as an early voting state. 

For instance, states that conduct early voting tabulate the votes as they’re cast, and people can vote in person at a polling place. 

In Michigan, polling places will only be open on Election Day and those who opt to vote absentee ahead of time in person can only do so at their local clerk’s office.

“It’s important because voters here in Michigan have the right to change their mind and to cast a new ballot,” Posthumus Lyons explained. “I want to make sure all of our voters know the difference between early voting and absentee voting, and Michigan’s an absentee voting state.”

Voters who have requested an absentee ballot by mail have the option to return their ballot to their local clerk, at their local drop box or by mail. Officials have recommended ballots be returned as soon as possible in anticipation of record-breaking turnout, potentially creating counting delays on Election Day. 

Voters have the option to return their ballot to their local clerk, at their local drop box or by mail. Officials have recommended ballots be returned as soon as possible in anticipation of record-breaking turnout, potentially creating counting delays on Election Day. 

According to the most recent state data, nearly 2.4 million Michiganders have requested an absentee ballot. New data is expected Tuesday morning.

News 8 reached out to county clerks around West Michigan Monday. As of 5 p.m., the following counties shared their most recent absentee-return data:

  • Kalamazoo County: 478 absentee ballots returned
  • Kent County: 3,695 absentee ballots returned
  • Ottawa County: 2,514 absentee ballots returned

This list will be updated as more counties respond. Check back with woodtv.com for updates.