absentee ballot

 Local clerks are warning voters to turn their absentee ballots in early for the upcoming November General Election.

 In early August, the United States Postal Service (USPS) sent letters to 46 states and Washington, D.C., including Michigan that it couldn’t

guarantee that all ballots sent by mail would be counted in time. Michigan is in the “heightened warning” category. 

 The USPS states on its website, “If you choose to vote by mail, it’s your responsibility to understand your local jurisdiction’s requirements for timely submission of completed mail-in ballots, including postmarking requirements. You should also be aware of how long it may take for your ballot to travel through the mail.”

 Tom Broecker, Fenton Township operations manager/deputy clerk, said, “Since the USPS has already issued a warning that it cannot guarantee all ballots cast by mail for the November election will arrive in time to be counted, Fenton Township is, of course, concerned about this issue. We will be encouraging voters to use our ballot drop box as an alternative to mailing their ballots, especially during the final weeks before the election.”

 He said they’re not in a position to recommend a deadline to absentee voters, but they urge them to mail them as soon as they can. 

 Karin Winchester, Holly Township clerk, said she’s “very concerned” about the ability of the Post Office Processing Centers to handle the amount of election mail for this November General Election.  

 “I would strongly encourage residents to drop off their voted ballots to their clerk’s office or their clerk’s ballot drop box and as soon as possible prior to the election. The enormous number of absent voter ballots expected will be a challenge to process for all clerks and the sooner a voter can get them to us the better it will be for the clerks and the post offices,” she said. 

 Winchester recommended that absentee voters should send their ballot in no later than two weeks prior to the election. 

 Denise Graves, Argentine Township clerk, said she thinks more people are certain of who they will vote for in this election, and that they should return their ballot “ASAP.”

 “We have a brand new larger locked ballot box secured to the cement next to our door for ballot drop off. For those who must mail their ballot, I would suggest seven days locally and 10 days for those mailed out of state to be sure,” she said. “Voters who wait until the last week to request an absentee ballot must bring their ballot back because any received after Nov. 3 will be rejected.”

Graves said absentee voting is safe. 

 “A voter must request an application for an absentee ballot. Signatures and ID are checked. Due to the need for social distancing, high turnout and very limited parking, the lines will be long. Therefore, voting by absentee ballot is strongly encouraged in our township,” she said. 

 Argentine Township will temporarily relocate the Precinct 2 voting station to the Argentine  Nazarene Church. A postcard is being mailed to each voter affected by the move.

 Debbie Miller, Rose Township clerk, she she’s “not too worried” about post offices not being able to handle the amount of mail expected. 

 “They are doing the best job they can,” she said. “Hand deliver them if possible but (with) by mail, we recommend (mailing them) 10 days prior to election. We received too many the day of the election and we are trying to not have this happen again.”

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