Benson: Take Michigan ballot to clerk or drop box so it’s counted

FILE - In this March 5, 2020, file photo, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson speaks at a news conference in Lansing, Mich. Michigan's top election official said Tuesday, May, 19, 2020, that absentee ballot applications will be mailed to all 7.7 million registered voters for the August primary and November general election. Benson said the step announced as the state continues to confront the coronavirus pandemic ensures no one "has to to choose between their health and their right to vote." (AP Photo/David Eggert, File) (David Eggert, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan's top election official is urging people with an absentee ballot to return it to their local clerk's office or drop box instead of using the mail to ensure it's counted in the Aug. 4 statewide primary.

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson gave the guidance Tuesday, a week before the election. A ballot must be received by 8 p.m. on Election Night to be counted.

Voters can return their ballot to the drop box in their city or township. A list can be found online.

Benson also said all absentee ballot requests should be made in person at the clerk's office. Voters should prepare to both request and vote their ballot in the same visit, due to the possibility of postal delays.

Nearly 2 million absentee ballots had been issued as of Tuesday, 3.6 times the 546,000 that were issued at the same point in 2016. About 903,000 had been returned, a nearly threefold increase from four years ago.

Absentee voting is on the rise following the approval of no-reason absentee voting in 2018 and is being emphasized as a safer option than in-person voting during the coronavirus pandemic.

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