1) Can I do this all on line?
No, the application still has to go in with your physical signature each time. Once it’s printed and signed, it can be mailed in, scanned and emailed, or delivered in person to your clerk’s office. To find the address, go to https://mvic.sos.state.mi.us/ and enter your information. You can also track your application and ballot there.
2) I’m not computer savvy. How can I do this?
You can request an absentee ballot in writing or go to your City or Township Clerk. To find the address of your clerk: go to https://mvic.sos.state.mi.us/
3) If I’m on the PAV (Permanent Absentee Voter) list, will I get my ballot automatically?
No, you still have to sign an application to get the ballot.
4) How close to the election can I request an AB?
You can request an absentee ballot up to 5 p.m. on the Friday before the election (though to ensure you get it in on time, you should do it early–or go to the office to request it). In case of an emergency which would prevent you from going to the polls, you can request an AB up until 4 p.m. on Election Day.
5) How close to the election can I send the ballot in?
After receiving an absent voter ballot, you have until 8 p.m. on election day to complete the ballot and return it to the clerk’s office. But it must be RECEIVED by 8 pm, not just postmarked.
6) Are there any more requirements for an AB?
Your signature must be on the return envelope and it must match your signature on file. (Your AB will not be considered without your signature on the envelope.)
If you received assistance voting the ballot, then the signature of the person who helped you must also be on the return envelope.
Only you, a family member or person residing in your household, a mail carrier, or an election official is authorized to deliver your signed Absent Voter ballot to your clerk’s office.
7) I’ve heard that ABs are only counted if the in-person vote is very close. Is that true?
No. Ballot-counters are hired for both types of ballots. AB ballots can only be counted at the close of the polls, not ahead of time, but they are counted.
8) I like voting in person. If I get an AB, can I still go to the polls?
Yes. The poll worker will have to “spoil” the AB ballot. She will look you up, cross off the number you were assigned, and give you a regular ballot. (You can’t use the AB at the polls, but you can get a new ballot.)
If you know you will miss going to the polls, consider voting absentee and then volunteering to be a poll greeter, give rides to the polls– or even get paid to be an Election Inspector! Your clerk will be recruiting in advance, and poll workers are badly needed.
9) I’ve heard that some places “lose” or don’t count ABs. Is that true?
It’s only true if there is deliberate fraud. An area of North Carolina was in the news due to what looked like deliberate interference with absentee ballots. The same corrupt officials practiced other forms of voter suppression.
As a voter, you must always be attentive to insure that the electoral process appears fair. But any place that is suppressing the AB ballot is probably also tinkering with regular ballots. This doesn’t happen often, but it gets a lot of play in the news when it does!
And remember to return your ballot before the deadline. The most common reason AV ballots are not counted is that they arrived too late. It’s not enough to have it postmarked by Election Day! It must be delivered to your clerk’s office by 8pm on Election Day.