The Michigan Secretary of State and a bipartisan group of clerks are calling upon legislators to increase the numbers of days that prevent new questions from being added to election ballots.

In 2018, Michigan residents approved an amendment to the state constitution to allow no-reason absentee voting, allowing all voters to vote by mail. In the time since, the state has seen a 63% increase in absentee ballot applications, causing Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and many county clerks concern for being able to get those ballots to voters in time. Under the current state constitution, no ballot changes can be made within 60 days of an election and absentee ballots can be picked up beginning 40 days outside of the election, giving clerks 20 days for the numerous processes to take place before ballots must be mailed. This includes finalizing ballot information and format, sending ballots to the state for review, printing, and testing among other things.

With the additional 540,000 and counting absentee ballot submissions in this heavy election year, Benson and the group of clerks are calling upon legislature to move the cut-off date for ballot changes to 75 days, giving clerks an additional 15 days to prepare them. Livingston County Clerk Elizabeth Hundley said in a release from the Secretary of State, that “the limited printing capacity in the state means that even if all counties submit ballots for printing on day 60, printers may not produce and deliver ballots in time for them to be distributed, tested, and issued.” Oakland County Elections Director Joe Rozell the 60-day deadline is no longer workable in the modern era of election administration in Michigan…” (MK)