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Criminal Justice & Legal System

Republicans throw support behind no-reason absentee voting in Michigan

straight-party voting
Lars Plougmann
/
The Secretary of State says 95.5% of eligible voters are registered

A plan to allow no-reason absentee voting in Michigan is gaining significant support from Republicans.

Unlike Michigan, most states no longer set conditions for voting absentee.

Republicans have in the past been uneasy about allowing anyone to mail in their ballot before Election Day for no reason. They’ve worried it would lead to voter fraud. But top state elections officials say that’s not a concern, and that argument seems to be waning. 

  

Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson – a Republican – testified in favor of a Republican bill to allow no-reason absentee voting.

“It simply gives honest people a way to make sure they have their voice heard,” said Johnson.

“I urge you to support this bill so that Michigan can join the 27 other states that have no-reason absentee voting, but with Michigan’s stamp of security.”

Under House Bill 4724, sponsored by state Rep. Lisa Posthumus Lyons, R-Alto, people voting absentee for no reason would have to apply for their ballots in person. The ballot application would still include the seven reasons currently approved for voting absentee. People qualifying under those conditions would not have to apply in person, according to state elections officials.

Johnson has long supported the concept, but previously said the state’s voter registry needed to be updated first. She says the file is now up to date.

“The time is right now because we do have the technology in place and we have cleaned up the qualified voter file.”

Michigan currently allows people to vote absentee if they are age 60 years old or older, unable to vote without assistance at the polls, expecting to be out of town on election day, in jail awaiting arraignment or trial, unable to attend the polls due to religious reasons, or appointed to work as an election inspector in a precinct outside of your precinct or residence.

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