COVID-19 creates spike in absentee ballot requests ahead of Michigan Primary Election

Absentee votes could cause delayed results

Surge in absentee ballots could create election day result delays

DETROIT – Tuesday is Michigan Primary Day, and more than 1 million people have already handed in their ballots.

The large number of absentee voters could cause delayed results, but Help Me Hank has information for anyone who hasn’t yet handed in their ballot or who plans to head to the polls in person.

A steady of stream of people are making sure their voice is heard in this year’s primary. This election day will be unlike any other in Michigan history. One reason is the sheer number of absentee voters.

Mark Center was one of the many people handing in his absentee ballot in Downtown Royal Oak. He said he felt a bit disconnected from the process by not going into the booth and being surrounded by other voters.

He said he hopes his vote will really be counted.

While absentee ballots have been an option for years, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has created the spike in requests.

In Michigan, there are roughly 7.7 million registered voters. There were more than 2 million requests for absentee ballots for this primary, and 1.2 million have been returned so far.

Officials with the Michigan Secretary of State said residents should expected a delay in gettings -- possibly Wednesday or Thursday.

Residents who want to vote in person can do so Tuesday. Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. Ballots can also be dropped off at clerk’s offices or city hall drop locations.

Face masks aren’t required at polling places, but they are encouraged.

About the Authors:

Hank Winchester is Local 4's Consumer Investigative Reporter and the head of WDIV's "Help Me Hank" Consumer Unit. He works to solve consumer complaints, reveal important recalls and track down thieves who have ripped off metro Detroiters.

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.