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Michigan Court Upholds Deadline for Absentee Ballots

Voting BoothThe Michigan appeals court today denied a request by the League of Women Voters and three others to require clerks to count ballots which were postmarked by Election Day – even if they were not received until after Election Day. Michigan law requires ballots to be received by 8:00 p.m. on the date of the election.

An analysis of the May elections showed roughly 1.75% of absentee ballots are postmarked by Election Day but not received until after the deadline.

The League of Women Voters and others plan to appeal this decision to the Michigan State Supreme Court.

Currently, clerks are required to make arrangements with the post office to pick up any absentee ballots which are received on Election Day after the post office has already made its final mail delivery. Election officials are also required to pick up a voter’s absentee ballot if (1) the election official issued the ballot to the voter, (2) the voter cannot return the ballot under any of the delivery methods, (3) the voter requests pick up before 5:00 p.m. on the Friday before Election Day, and (4) the ballot is within the election official’s jurisdiction. However, regardless of delivery method, the ballot must be in the hands of the clerk by 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.

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