LANSING, Mich. -

Michigan's Secretary of State and Attorney General filed a lawsuit against 24 communities to require clerks to extend the deadline for military and overseas ballots not received on time.

"The men and women who put their lives on the line to defend our freedoms must be able to participate in our democracy," said Secretary of State, Ruth Johnson. "While the vast majority of local clerks met the deadline, we must ensure that all military and overseas voters’ voices are heard in the Nov. 6 election."

The pair are asking judges to order clerks to extend the deadline by the number of days the ballots were originally delayed.

The deadline was Sept. 22.

Despite reminders from the Michigan Department of State Bureau of Elections and other groups, clerks in 24 local communities reported that they did not send out military and overseas ballots 45 days before the Nov. 6 election, as required under state law.

More than 8,700 ballots were requested before the deadline.

Legislation to extend the deadline without court intervention is before the state Senate after House approval.

"Americans have the right to make their voice heard on Election Day and military personnel who put their lives on the line for our freedoms should be no exception," said Attorney General, Bill Schuette.

The Bureau of Elections staff says they sent multiple reminders to all 1,517 local clerks about their responsibility to send out the ballots by the deadline.

Military and overseas voters still can apply for an absentee ballot at www.Michigan.gov/vote.