Michigan has garnered a great deal of national attention due to the particularly contentious nature of COVID-19 related conflicts in the state. These battles have created the possibility for confusion regarding absentee voting and election law, significantly impacting Michigan’s readiness for the 2020 presidential election. Understanding how the state has navigated 2020’s unique challenges is critical to assessing the health of the state’s electoral system.
Michigan Updates and Election News:
10/25/20 - Voter Intimidation: On October 16, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced that people would not be allowed to openly carry weapons and firearms within 100 feet of polling places, clerk's offices, or buildings where absentee ballots are counted, in an effort to reduce potential voter intimidation.
9/24/20 - Election Law Change: Lawmakers passed legislation that will allow clerks to begin counting ballots at 10 a.m. on the day before Election Day, instead of waiting until polls close at 8 p.m. on Election Day. Further, this legislation requires clerks to contact voters if there is a signature mismatch on their absentee ballot, and increases security at drop box locations.
9/18/20 - Ballot Deadline Shift: According to a new ruling, absentee ballots will now be counted as long as they are postmarked by the day before Election Day, and arrive before results are finalized 14 days after Election Day. Previous rules required ballots to be received at the polls by Election Day to be counted.