Michigan clerks prepping for a challenging election season | Michigan Radio
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Michigan clerks prepping for a challenging election season

Sep 8, 2020

(file photo)
Credit steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Across Michigan, local clerks are preparing for the challenges of November’s general election.

The COVID-19 pandemic is driving a sharp rise in absentee voting and concerns for the health of people who will be manning the polls on Election Day.

Lansing City Clerk Chris Swope is the president of the Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks.

He says the August primary helped prepare them for the challenges ahead.

“But there are some medium sized and even smaller communities that will just have a hard time getting election workers and just will be challenged beyond what they ever had before,” says Swope.

In one case the Michigan Secretary of State is partnering with Detroit city clerk to “ensure the integrity” of the November third election, after problems with the count in the August primary. 

Swope and other clerks are urging state lawmakers to approve changes to allow clerks to begin processing absentee ballots before Election Day.

A legislative leader says a bill that would let Michigan clerks start processing absentee ballots the day before Election Day isn't dead.

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey told The Associated Press that the August primary proved the legitimacy of some concerns that officials won't be able to quickly handle a surge of mailed-in ballots during the coronavirus pandemic. The legislation has been on hold in the Senate since May.

Shirkey says it wouldn't surprise him to see lawmakers change the law before November's election and evaluate it after. He says the Senate is seriously considering the bill.

 

Absentee ballots will be mailed out at the end of the month.

Election Day is less than two months away. But final results may be delayed as election workers count all the absentee ballots. 

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