Secretary of State reports more than 18K Michiganders voted early in person

(Susan J. Demas)

By Anna Liz Nichols, Michigan Advance

Nearly 766,000 Michiganders have cast their vote in the state’s presidential primary ahead of Election Day on Feb. 27.

This is the first presidential primary being conducted under new election rules voters approved in November 2022, which, among other things, mandate nine days of early in-person voting for constituents.

After casting her own in-person ballot on Saturday, the first day of early voting, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson encouraged voters in Michigan to take advantage of whatever option is best for them to participate in the election: Early in-person voting, non reason absentee voting, or in-person voting on Election Day.

“If you choose to vote early, you will have at least nine days to vote including two Saturdays and two Sundays before any statewide election,” Benson noted in a YouTube video on Saturday. “It is an exciting moment. I’ve been seeing voters go in and out of early voting centers all day.”

A total of 18,317 individuals cast their ballots at early voting sites in the first three days early in-person voting began, according to the Secretary of State’s office, with the most people, 7,312, voting on Monday, which was Presidents Day. 

Absentee ballot requests a week before the presidential primary election in Michigan have jumped significantly this year compared to the last presidential primary, the Secretary of State’s Office reports, with more than 1.3 million voters requesting an absentee ballot this year, compared to just over 863,000 in 2020. More voters have submitted completed absentee ballots one week before the election than they did in 2020, as well, with 489,068 ballots being received this time in 2020 and 747,534 being turned in this year.

With more than 1.2 million absentee ballots being issued to applicants, the Secretary of State’s Office is recommending those who haven’t already mailed in their absentee ballot to drop it in an official ballot drop box or hand deliver it to their local clerk’s office or early voting site.

Mailing in a ballot at this point before Election Day is not recommended to ensure a person’s vote is counted, the Secretary of State’s Office cautioned in a news release Tuesday. To be counted in the primary, absentee ballots have to be received by clerk’s offices or drop boxes by 8 p.m. on the day of the election. 

Early voting sites and drop box locations can be found online. Michiganders that are not yet registered to vote can do so in-person on Election Day at their local clerk’s office and vote there at the same time.