Jessica Mathews /

Livingston County voters who plan on casting absentee ballots are being encouraged to get that taken care of sooner than later.

The Livingston County Clerk’s office is urging voters to get their absentee ballots voted and dropped off ahead of the upcoming August Primary Election.

As of late Wednesday afternoon, local clerks had issued 30,709 ballots within the county. Of those, 11,694 had been returned – marking around a 38% return rate. The county typically receives a minimum of around 80% of those back, meaning over half of those still need to be returned.

Clerk Betsy Hundley tells WHMI they strongly encourage voters to return absentee ballots directly to their clerk’s office or their drop box versus using the Postal Service due to potential delays. Ballots must be returned by 8pm on Election Day in order to be counted and processed. Secure drop-boxes are located on city-owned or township-owned property in every municipality in Livingston County.

While voters are allowed to register up to and on Election Day at their clerk’s office, Hundley says they do not recommend that and really ask that people check their voter registration now. Those who want to vote in the Primary, since the deadline has passed, must now register in-person with their city or township clerk and provide proof of residency.

Hundley noted that many voters don’t understand the difference between the Primary and the General Election in November. She says the Primary allows for political parties to move their candidate forward to the General Election. Hundley says the winner of the Primary is the candidate for the parties that receive the most votes cast for a particular office. She says they then move on to the General Election, where the person who receives the most votes would be seated in office for the length of the term it carries.

Hundley says one of the most important things for voters to know is that the August 2nd election is an open primary election - meaning people do not have to declare a party affiliation. She says both major political parties are contained on one ballot and they need voters to limit their partisan voting to only one party.

Hundley said they also cannot emphasize enough that voters, whether voting absentee or at the polls, read the instructions that come with their ballot. She cautions that if a voter “crossover” votes and votes in more than one party for partisan races, then the partisan portion of that ballot will not count – the entire part. Hundley added they want voters to have their voice heard, and following instructions and limiting voting to one political party is very important in the upcoming Primary Election.

The full interview with Clerk Hundley and County Elections Coordinator/Deputy Clerk Joe Bridgman can be heard on WHMI’s Viewpoint program, Sunday morning at 8:30.