Seriously, it’s so simple that a caveman can do it. As long as you’ve already registered, there’s no reason for any of you Michiganders to not be able to vote. Terri Lynn Land, the previous Secretary of State, once noted that only 70% of all registered voters are expected to vote in Michigan elections. Absentee ballots can help to make the voting experience more pleasant and convenient for any registered voter that would otherwise not be able to make it to the polls that day. Heck, you other lazies in different states have no excuse either. The information and analysis below is only relevant for voting in Michigan but every state governments website have instructions for how to obtain and use an absentee ballot.
Straight from Michigan.gov’s “What You Need to Know About Absentee Voting” article.
“Absentee voter ballots are available for all elections.”
Sweet, so that means it’s not only available for presidential elections for all of the ones involving ordinances, judicial and legislative candidates and everything. It says all of them.
“They provide voters with a convenient method for casting a ballot when they are unable to attend the polls on election day.”
The only thing more convenient would be the ability to vote online. You don’t need to go in person to complete the form, you can print it from here. Even so, this is only the form to request an absentee ballot. You will receive your ballot in the mail a few weeks after this form is received. The current deadline for submitting this application remotely by 2pm Saturday, November 3rd. You can speed up the entire process by going in person so that you can retrieve your ballot in person. If you’re going to wait until the last minute, you can retrieve a ballot on election day but you must complete it and return it from within the office on that date.
“As a registered voter, you may obtain an absentee voter ballot if you are:
age 60 years old or older
unable to vote without assistance at the polls
expecting to be out of town on election day
in jail awaiting arraignment or trial
unable to attend the polls due to religious reasons
appointed to work as an election inspector in a precinct outside of your precinct of residence.
A person who registers to vote by mail must vote in person in the first election in which he or she participates. The restriction does not apply to overseas voters, voters who are disabled or voters who are 60 years of age or older.”
To summarize that you essentially need to at least be within a few years of becoming a senior citizen, need special assistance in voting, be in jail, have religious reasons for not going, be an election inspector or not in city where you’re registered to vote. an extensive investigation isn’t normally completed for your reasoning but I cannot advocate fraud. However, due to the religious reasons and the “expectation” of not being in town (you can still be in town, but if you expected to not be there then that’s good enough for the officials). I work outside of my city and wouldn’t be able to make it to the polls in time before work or afterwards so I’ll be voting by absentee ballot again. Yes, I’ve done this previously. It’s extremely simple and very convenient.
“You must be a registered voter to receive an absentee ballot. Requests for absentee voter ballots are processed immediately. Absentee voter ballots may be issued to you at your home address or any address outside of your city or township of residence.”
Interesting limitations. You’ll either have your ballot mailed to your home or to a place outside of where you should be voting. So if you’re busy working you can elect to receive your mail there if it’s not within your voting city. The actual address could be for Chuck E Cheese, it just needs to not be within your city.
“After receiving your absentee voter ballot, you have until 8 p.m. on election day to complete the ballot and return it to the clerk’s office. Your ballot will not be counted unless your signature is on the return envelope and matches your signature on file.”
Note that you have until 8pm on election day to turn in your ballot. You do not have to turn your ballot in on that date, you can return it the day that you’ve received it just so long as you’ve completed the form properly. It’s a simple form, take your time and print legibly so that your vote can count.
“Voting is one of the most cherished and fundamental rights in our country. If you are eligible to obtain an absentee voter ballot and cannot attend the polls on election day, use of the absentee voter ballot is strongly encouraged.”
This is very true. Most people never consider going the absentee ballot route. Whether it’s due to not knowing that the option exists or the details behind eligibility is yet to be determined. In the 2008 elections our state expected 30% of registered voters to not vote. Please share this information with as many people as possible, let’s get as close to 100% registered voter participation as we possibly can.