LANSING, Mich. – As election results for Primary Day Tuesday slowly come in through the night and into the next day, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said she is already preparing for the November general election.
About 1.6 million people submitted their absentee ballots out of 2 million who requested a ballot for the primary election, Benson said, which could delay the final unofficial results to mid-day Wednesday.
But Benson assured that Tuesday’s election was a success and “calm, clean and safe.”
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Benson called for state legislation to adjust the timeframe counting absentee ballots before the election and days after the election as opposed to just the morning of.
Currently, absentee ballots must arrive by 8 p.m. the day of the election to be counted. Benson said roughly 46,000 absentee ballots were rejected in March’s primary election because they arrived after the election date. She suggested that mail-in ballots should still be eligible if post-marked by the election day, allowing for more ballots to be counted.
But she encouraged absentee voters to consider dropping off their ballots in person in lieu of mailing it.
In addition, Benson projected that the number of submitted absentee ballots could double in November, hoping that counting absentee votes before election day would reduce the wait time for results.
Benson said Tuesday’s election also showed her that the state will need to further prepare more people to work on election day. To combat a high request of absentee ballots, Benson also called for the federal government to allocate at least $15 million in support of the U.S. Postal Service and voting poll workers to be fully operational.
While in-person voting did not have long lines and voters were to complete the process, issues such as lack of machines and personnel still arose in Tuesday’s voting.
Benson addressed an incident in Detroit where election workers were not present at 7 a.m. to open the polling location. The issue was resolved; however, Benson said she is investigating the situation.
About 6,500 people were recruited throughout the state to handle polling locations, with 200 people placed on reserve if needed to fill in gaps. At least 50 workers were reserved for Detroit.
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