Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson says, based on how the August primary went this week, changes are needed before the November general election.
A record 2.5 million Michiganders voted in Tuesday’s primary, with 1.6 million using absentee ballots (also a record).
Most clerk’s offices were able to handle their share of the avalanche of absentee ballots cast for the primary. But Benson says four counties (Wayne, Oakland, Genesee, and Ingham counties) were still counting ballots well into Wednesday.
With the COVID-19 pandemic still present and voters getting accustomed to the new state law giving them more options, Benson expects the number of absentee ballots will rise to 2.5 million for the presidential election in November.
Because of that, Benson says election workers will need more time and resources to process all those ballots.
“If there is no change in the law, it will likely be well into Friday or potentially the weekend before we can get results...in the closest races in our state,” says Benson.
More than 10,000 absentee ballots were rejected, including many that arrived after the voting deadline at 8 pm on Election Day.
Benson wants state law changed to allow absentee ballots mailed before the deadline to be counted.
Wednesday, a coalition of voters’ rights groups called for hiring more poll workers, increasing the number of absentee voter drop boxes and encouraging more Michiganders to vote early.