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Tuesday, May 19, 2020

As Ohio Debates Voting Reforms for November, Michigan Says It'll Mail Absentee Ballot Applications to Every Voter

Posted By on Tue, May 19, 2020 at 3:08 PM


Ohio is pondering a short list of proposed reforms to adopt by summer in advance of the November election. They include allowing voters to request mail-in ballots online and increasing the number of dropbox locations for ballots. Groups like the League of Women Voters want more, including moving the deadline to request an absentee ballot back to the last week before the election, something Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose has indicated will probably not happen.

Meanwhile, Michigan election officials announces this week the state will mail absentee ballot applications to all 7.7 million active voters there to make it easier for them to vote without showing up in person to the August and November elections.

“By mailing applications, we have ensured that no Michigander has to choose between their health and their right to vote,” Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said in a news release. “Voting by mail is easy, convenient, safe, and secure, and every voter in Michigan has the right to do it.”

Public health officials have warned that the coronavirus likely will remain a threat until there is a vaccine, and epidemiologists are bracing for a second surge in the fall.

For the May 5 elections, every voter was mailed an absentee ballot application. The state saw a record turnout in the roughly 50 elections held across 33 counties in May, with nearly a quarter of voters casting ballots. About 99% of them voted by mail or in a drop box. The average turnout for elections in May was 12% between 2010 and 2019.

Voters will receive instructions on how to vote by mail. Voters can also receive an absentee ballot application at

“The vast majority of voters across the political spectrum want the option to vote by mail,” Benson said. “Mailing applications to all registered voters is one of the ways that we are ensuring Michigan’s elections will continue to be safe, accurate and secure.”

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