Local municipal and county election clerks are beginning to mail absentee ballots this week. Most have already been mailed to military personnel who are overseas along with registered voters who are temporarily out of the country. Tomorrow marks the big mailing day for most everyone else who has requested an absentee ballot. Best estimates for Michigan are nearing 2.5 million absentee ballots are being mailed to voters. Ballots may be returned by mail or in person at your local clerk’s office. Some communities are also setting up drop boxes.

Battle Creek City Clerk Victoria Houser says the City of Battle Creek has put postage on the return envelope, as a directive from the state this one time due to the pandemic.  “We will not be placing postage on the return envelopes in the future,” said Houser on the 95.3 WBCK Morning Show with Tim Collins.

Houser says Battle Creek has over 38,000 registered voters.  5,225 absentee ballots were received for the August Primary election, but she expects twice as many for the November General Election.  So far, the city clerk’s office has received about 9,500 requests for ballots.

Absentee voter applications were sent out over the summer, and Houser says voters could request a ballot for the August, November, or both elections.  Ballots for the general election should arrive in the next week.  Voters can then fill them out and put them in the mail, or they can use the drop box at City Hall, just outside the entrance doors, or drop the ballot in the drive-up utility payment box in the parking lot.   The US Postal Service is recommending that you mail your AV ballot at least 7 days before an election.

Voters may request an absentee ballot through the day before the election (Nov 2) in person.  Houser says they’ll mail a ballot if it’s requested by 4 pm the Friday before the election.  (October 30) The City Clerk’s office will also be open on Saturday, October 31st, from 8 am to 4 pm.  “Anybody can walk in and are required to vote the ballot within the office.  They’re not allowed to leave with the ballot.”

Houser says you can track your ballot online, to find out if your ballot has been mailed out, or received.

Houser also reminds city voters that they’ll be voting on school board positions, five city commission ward positions, as well as three at-large seats and the Battle Creek Mayor position.  It’s the first time that the cities of Battle Creek and Springfield will have their council candidates on a November General Election Ballot.  ”Remember to vote the backside of the ballot,” said Hauser.  “City candidates begin at the bottom of the first column with the mayoral candidates, ward and at-large candidates are in the second column.”

The City is also looking for election workers to staff the 21 precincts.   Houser says they need at least 150 workers, and still need some, which would allow for shorter shifts for those who do not want to work a 16 hour day.

Requests for the absentee ballots have to be processed by elections workers, comparing signatures with those that are on file with the Michigan Qualified Voter File. Along with checking the authenticity of the signature, ballots can differ within local units of government depending on the address on file for a registered voter for things like local school elections.  As we noted, you’ll have until 5 p.m. on the Friday before the election, Oct. 30, to get an absentee ballot request to your local clerk’s office. You can also wait and show up at your local clerk’s office on Election day to update your address and can request an absentee ballot at that time. In that case, the ballot must be completed at the clerk’s office.

You can track your absentee ballot using the State of Michigan information page.

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