WUOMFM

Absentee voting surges in Tuesday's primary, with near-record turnout

Aug 4, 2016

Just 1 in 5 Michigan voters cast a ballot Tuesday. While that doesn’t sound like a lot, it’s actually close to a record high turnout for this kind of primary.

“There were a number of highly-contested congressional primaries across the state, so that helped drive interest,” says Fred Woodhams, spokesperson from the Michigan Secretary of State’s office.

Another big part of that uptick is thanks to absentee voting. Of the 1.4 million voters who cast a ballot Tuesday, more than 522,000 were absentee.  That's a "massive increase" from 322,000 four years ago, according to Woodhams. 

So clearly more people are opting for absentee ballots. But a lot of people want that option to get easier to use.

Right now you have to give a reason – like being out of town on election day, or over the age of 60 – if you want to vote absentee.

But the Secretary of State, Ruth Johnson, wants to make it legal to vote absentee without a reason, her spokesperson says.

“There’s a lot of working folks and working families in Michgian who might be fairly busy in the evenings and throughout the day on election day,” Woodhams says. “So it’d be great to allow them to be able to pick up a ballot ahead of time and cast that.”

If you want to vote absentee in the next election, you can go here to request a ballot. Or, if you want to register to vote, head here. Not sure if you're registered yet? Click here to find out.