LANSING, Mich. – Secretary of State Ruth Johnson announced today that military and overseas voters should have their ballots sent to them this week in compliance with federal law if they’ve requested them. The Bureau of Elections has reminded all 1,514 city and township clerks in the state of their responsibility to send the ballots no later than this Saturday.
“Our troops deserve to have their voices heard on Election Day,” Johnson said. “We must make every effort to ensure the people who put their lives on the line to protect our freedoms participate in our democracy. Families of voters overseas should remind their loved ones that they should apply for an absentee ballot as early as possible.”
Military and overseas voters can apply for an absentee ballot at www.Michigan.gov/vote<http://www.michigan.gov/vote>. Ballots can be sent via email if the voter prefers. All voters can visit the Voter Information Center site to view the candidates and questions that will be on their ballot.
During the August primary, more than 95 percent of local clerks met the requirement and Elections staff people have worked since then to inform all local clerks of the need to send out requested ballots before the general election deadline. The missed primary deadline resulted in an agreement in federal court to extend the counting deadline for affected ballots. Unlike other areas of state election law, clerks may not wait until the next business day to comply with the federal military and overseas voter deadline, which falls on a weekend.
“Michigan’s elections system depends on the fantastic work local clerks perform day in and day out,” Johnson said. “I thank them for all their efforts to make sure voters can participate on Election Day.”
As a former clerk herself, Johnson founded OPERATION: Our Troops Count when she was Oakland County clerk to push for laws that would allow military ballots to be emailed.
Already, Michigan has made a number of improvements to how military and overseas voters cast ballots, including:
* Expansion of a federal write-in absentee ballot to include state and local candidates and ballot questions for overseas military and their families. Voters who use the ballot return it by mail to the appropriate clerk.
* An electronic ballot system that allows clerks to easily email ballots to overseas and military voters. This move can save as much as two weeks in arrival and response times.
* An online ballot tracker – at www.Michigan.gov/vote<http://www.michigan.gov/vote> – that allows voters to check on their absentee ballot status.