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Michigan Senate OKs more time to process absentee ballots

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Posted at 12:20 PM, Sep 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-15 12:21:37-04

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Larger Michigan municipalities could begin processing an expected surge of absentee ballots sooner in the November presidential election under a bill approved Tuesday by the state Senate.

The 34-2 vote followed a monthslong delay in the Republican-led chamber amid lobbying from clerks in both parties who warned of significant delays in counting the votes. The GOP-controlled House will consider the measure next.

Absentee voting, already on the rise in recent election cycles, is an increasingly popular option during the coronavirus pandemic and following the passage of a 2018 ballot initiative that lets people cast one for any reason.

The legislation would let clerks in bigger communities start processing ballots the day before Election Day. They still could not be counted until Election Day.

Key Dates & Deadlines

Thursday, Sept. 24: Absentee ballots mailed out
Monday, Oct. 19: Last day to register in any form
Tuesday, Oct. 20 - Tuesday, Nov. 3 at 8 p.m.: Voter registration allowed in-person at local clerk
Friday, Oct. 30 at 5 p.m.: Last day to request absentee ballot by mail
Monday, Nov. 2: Absentee ballots must be postmarked to count
Tuesday, Nov. 3: In-person voting begins; polls open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.