Michigan mail-in voting: what to know

As the coronavirus pandemic rages on, a number of states have moved to send all registered voters mail-in ballot applications, including Michigan.

In Michigan, absentee ballots must be requested, but mail-in ballot applications are automatically sent to every registered voter.

The deadline to request a mail-in ballot is Oct. 30, and ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 2, or hand-delivered on Nov. 3. The state recommends mailing completed ballots at least two weeks before the election, or Oct. 20, to ensure they arrive on time.

Voters can request a mail-in ballot in person if they haven’t received one at their local clerk’s office. Absentee voter ballots can be dropped at the clerk’s office as well, which officials have encouraged Michiganders to do.


In the Michigan Primary on Aug. 4, about 10,000 mail-in ballots were rejected, mostly due to signature verification issues or late arrival.

For in-person voting, Michigan allows same-day voter registration– meaning you can register to vote and vote on the day of the election.

Michigan’s Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced in May that for the first time all of the crucial battleground state’s 7.7 million registered voters would receive ballot applications due to the pandemic.

Benson said that 1.3 million of the state’s 7.7 million registered voters are on the permanent absentee ballot list, which means they are mailed applications ahead of every election.


All Michigan voters should have received an absentee ballot application in May for the August primary and the November election. Voters will start to receive their ballots for the November elections up to 40 days prior to Election Day, or Sept. 24.

Sending applications for an absentee ballot is different from sending ballots directly to all registered voters.

But President Trump tweeted that the secretary had approved sending ballots, and threatened to withhold funding.

“Breaking: Michigan sends absentee ballots to 7.7 million people ahead of Primaries and the General Election. This was done illegally and without authorization by a rogue Secretary of State,” Trump tweeted Wednesday morning. “I will ask to hold up funding to Michigan if they want to go down this Voter Fraud path!”

But Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in May, “I don’t really have an issue with absentee ballot request forms being sent out to voters as much [as] ballots being sent directly to voters. I think the request form is one mechanism of ensuring that that voter is who they are.”

In August, a Michigan judge dismissed lawsuits from Republican candidates challenging the secretary of state’s universal absentee ballot applications decision, stating she had the “clear and broad” authority to do so.


Judge Cynthia Stephens noted that in 2018, voters approved a constitutional amendment letting people vote absentee for any reason.

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