Absentee Ballots May Mess Up Michigan’s Vote Counts This Year
Getting timely election results from primary and general election voting in Michigan this year may be tough. The anticipated delay getting primary results, may pale, compared to what is being predicted for the November general election. The big issue is absentee ballots. Some estimates figure 800 thousand or more absentee ballots may be used in the November election. That’s nearly double the number used in the 2016 general. Tabulating absentee ballots take a lot longer than regular ballots.
It’s a cumbersome process involving the removal of each ballot from two separate envelopes, verifying the voter signature, and flattening the folded sheet to put it through a tabulator. The increased percentage of absentee voters is prompting fear among Michigan’s more than 1,500 local clerks, who anticipate a long night of tabulating the absentee ballots. That’s because they aren't allowed to count them before the polls open at 7 a.m. on election day. Some political consultants fear absentee ballot counting in Detroit could go on for days. A problem made worse by an anticipated record voter turnout in November.
Legislation before the State Senate would allow local clerks to begin counting absentee ballots the day before election day to get a jump on the count. But in a last-minute wrench in the works move, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey is coming out in opposition to the early absentee ballot count. Barring a major reversal, his decision almost assures nothing will happen in time for the November general election.