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You can change your mind after voting absentee

May 3, 2018

Michigan absentee voter form
Credit State of Michigan

In the final days leading up to election day two years ago, Tom Barrett, a Republican candidate for the 71st District in Eaton County, was knocking on doors when he met a voter he had a lot in common with.

They got to talking about their shared military experience and after a while, the man said he wished he hadn't already voted for Barrett's opponent.

"And I didn't know, and he didn't know," says Barrett, that it's established practice in Michigan for city and county clerks to allow absentee voters to change their minds.  Voters can ask for their old ballot to be spoiled and cast a new one.

"I won that election by only 148 votes out of 35,000," says Barrett, "so each and every vote really did matter in that instance."

Barrett sponsored a bill that codifies into law the practice of letting someone change an absentee vote, as long as it's done on or before the Saturday before Election Day. The bill was signed by Governor Snyder this week.

Another bill mandates that Michigan elections use voting machines that leave a paper trail.

Barrett says you can't do a recount without paper ballots. 

And he says even though it doesn't appear that any outside groups were able to hack electronic voting machines in the U.S., "I want to make sure that we don't get down to the path."