Michigan lawmakers agree on early absentee ballot processing -- What we know

Preprocessing is already being done in 38 other states

Michigan lawmakers have agreed on an early absentee ballot processing Wednesday night in Lansing. The deal reached between the legislature and the governor means local clerks will now have the two days before Election Day to preprocess absentee ballots. Preprocessing doesn’t mean tabulating. Absentee ballots will have the outer envelope opened to check the number on the return envelope.

MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich. – Michigan lawmakers have agreed on an early absentee ballot processing plan Wednesday night in Lansing.

The deal reached between the legislature and the governor means local clerks will now have the two days before Election Day to preprocess absentee ballots.

Preprocessing doesn’t mean tabulating. Absentee ballots will have the outer envelope opened to check the number on the return envelope.

The change is something that local clerks have been asking for.

“This is a great thing for local clerks because they are under the gun,” said Macomb County Clerk Anthony Forlini. “At 8 p.m., the polls close, and people want results right away. Unfortunately, when you’re processing all day long, particularly with the amount of absentee ballots coming in, they need time.”

Preprocessing should expedite the tabulation on election night. Both chambers in Lansing passed the change with strong bipartisan support.

The new deal is heading to the desk of Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer for signature.

Preprocessing may be new in Michigan, but it’s already being done in 38 other states.


About the Authors:

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.