Amend State Election Law to Increase Absentee Ballot Efficiency and Integrity: 

Michigan Senate Bill SB0757 would amend State Election Law to allow city or township clerks with larger municipalities to pre-process absentee ballots the day before elections, all the while maintaining ballot security and privacy.

Why is this bill addressing the efficiency of counting absentee ballots so important? Absentee ballot requests are up by 70% this year due to “no excuse“ absentee voting and the need to maintain social distancing because of Covid-19. Local clerks are worried that processing and counting all the absentee ballots in one day will put a strain on their resources and delay the final count. Verifying absentee ballots is a process that will take longer to achieve than in-person voting. Removing this one step of opening the outside envelope will make counting the ballots on the following Election Day more efficient, reduce the time to count absentee ballots, and improve security by keeping the absentee ballots in locked boxes. Failure to implement this process will lead to fatigue, that, in turn, will increase mistakes.

What is happening?  This bill is in pause in the Senate while Republicans, led by Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, question its safety. Even though the bill has bipartisan support, Senator Shirkey will not allow a vote, stating that it will lead to early counting. There is no evidence that pre-processing will result in early counting, and some other states, such as Georgia, have succeeded in allowing pre-processing of absentee ballots.

What can we do? We can call the following Senate leaders to demand they take SB757 to the floor of the Senate and vote yes on it:
Mike Shirkey:  Senate Majority Leader 517-373-5932
Peter MacGregor:  Senate Majority Floor Leader 517-373-0797
Jim Stamas:  Senate Appropriations Chairperson 517-373-7946

Call to Senate Leaders:  Hi, I’m calling Senator ___ to ask him to move forward on Senate Bill 757. This bill ensures the safety and efficiency of absentee voter board workers by allowing a secure pre-processing step on the day before Election Day, which would allow absentee ballots be counted in a timely and secure manner.

Additional resources:

https://www.mlive.com/public-interest/2020/02/ahead-of-michigan-primary-sen-mike-shirkey-shoots-down-bills-to-speed-up-absentee-ballots.html

https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/politics/2020/02/19/expect-delayed-michigan-election-results-absentee-ballots-slow/4754597002/

https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/politics/2020/02/25/gop-senate-majority-leader-mike-shirkey-absentee-ballots-continue/4868837002/

https://www.ajc.com/news/state–regional-govt–politics/emergency-rule-allows-georgia-absentee-ballots-opened-early/JoXEUSQUcZup0UvTFSFpsK/