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Some election officials want more time to count absentee ballots

sign that says "vote here"
Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

Some election officials in Michigan say they want more time to be able to count absentee votes.

That would require a change in state law.

Barb Byrum is clerk of Ingham County. She says absentee ballots made up 68% of the vote in the county’s most recent election. She says that’s a significant increase compared to previous elections.

“I see the future of not having enough time to feed in all of those absentee ballots, and we need to stay even later, perhaps until the next day, to continue feeding absentee ballots into tabulators,” Byrum says. “So I think the Legislature needs to take a look at this.”

Byrum says delayed results could undermine confidence in elections.  

“The voter, and the citizenry of Michigan, expect to see results,” Byrum says. “And if we hold off on results, I believe voter confidence is going to start to decrease.”

Stateside will be talking with Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson later Monday for more on this.

Dustin Dwyer reports enterprise and long-form stories from Michigan Radio’s West Michigan bureau. He was a fellow in the class of 2018 at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. He’s been with Michigan Radio since 2004, when he started as an intern in the newsroom.
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