Absentee ballot returns in MI much higher than 2014; voter turnout could be near 2016 levels

Posted at 2:24 PM, Nov 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-02 14:42:57-04

The state of Michigan could see a record turnout for a Midterm election in 2018, and absentee ballot returns are already nearly two times higher than they were in the last Midterm election.

Data from the Michigan Secretary of State's Office shows that there were 769,337 absentee ballots sent out in 2014 just four days from Election Day. Of those, 580,764 were returned four days out.

Now, four days before the 2018 Midterm Election, the SOS has sent out 1,175,994 absentee ballots and had 874,963 returned. That's more than 1.5 times as many in 2014.

A spokesperson for the Secretary of State's office tells 7 Action News they are expecting a voter turnout closer to the presidential election in 2016 compared to the last gubernatorial election in 2014.

Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties requested the largest number of absentee ballots. There were 192,064 sent in Wayne County and 142,233 returned, 194,317 sent in Oakland and 136,071 returned, and 113,050 sent out in Macomb County with 84,036 returned. 

During the primary election in August, the state saw the highest turnout in 40 years with nearly 2.2 million people voting. With 7,385,079 registered voters in Michigan, according to the Secretary of State, the voter turnout percentage in the primary was around 29.7 percent.

The previous high for a gubernatorial primary was 1,722,869 people in 2002, which saw Dick Posthumus win the Republican nomination for governor and Jennifer Granholm win the Democratic nomination and eventually the general election. That year saw a 23.3 percent turnout.

In the 2016 presidential primary, 2,529,141 turned out to vote for Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, and in the 2016 general election, almost 4.8 million people turned out.