DETROIT – Absentee ballot requests are up substantially since 2018. Currently, 1.6 million absentee ballot requests have been made, and 432,906 have already been returned.
In 2018 at this same time, 896,168 absentee ballots had been requested, and 220,430 had been returned.
“We’re looking at the possibility of another record election,” political consultant Dennis Darnoi said.
In years past, it was typical for absentee ballots to be inputted into the system in a big chunk later in the evening. In Detroit this year, that will not be the case courtesy of changes in the law that allow local clerks two days before Election Day to prepare absentees for tabulating.
“On Election Day, we begin tabulating those absentees, and every ballot we have processed and tabulated up until 8 p.m.,” said Detroit Director of Elections Daniel Baxter. “We’ll have the opportunity to download that data, upload it onto a flash drive, and deliver it to the Department of Elections, where they will transmit it via telephone lines to Wayne County so they will have early reports on absentees.”
Baxter told Local 4 that he thinks it will be in just before 10 p.m. The rest of the in-person poll votes will gradually come in throughout the evening. They realize that this is just what Detroit does as each community charts its course.
It’s also important to point out changes in who votes absentee. The Michigan GOP had a robust absentee ballot program in the ‘90s and early 2000s; it does not anymore.
Darnoi, who has crunched the numbers, says 80% of GOP voters will vote in person, versus democrats, 55% of which vote absentee.
“I think we’re on track for having another situation like we had in 2020,” Darnoi said. “What you’re going to see is early returns are going to be very favorable to republicans because, again, 80% of them are voting at the ballot box. As absentees start being counted and come in, then potentially the margin of victory that Republicans think they have is going to dwindle, and that’s just a repeat of 2020.”