Voting absentee used to be a mundane practice, kinda boring. You check the boxes, you seal and mail the envelope. No election day fanfare, no day-of “I voted” laudatory sticker — the democratic process boiled down to you and the lonely squeak of the mail flag.
This year there’s lots of noise about the formerly banal ballots, swirls of controversy that reached the level of a Mason homeowner getting in trouble for a lawn ornament toilet with “place ballots here” sign on the same week that a Court of Claims decision allowed ballots postmarked by Nov. 2 to be counted for two weeks after the election.
President Donald Trump also had plenty of words for Michigan’s absentee ballots — from “dangerous” and “tremendous fraud and illegality” regarding Sec. of State Jocelyn Benson’s decision to send out ballot applications in the Aug. election to this week’s “Attention MICHIGAN!” tweet urging people to “take advantage of the early voting and absentee calendar.”
(In-between he called Benson out for the 400 ballots created without Vice President Mike Pence’s name on them destined for military voters).
The Nov. 3 will likely be a record-breaker on all mail-in voting fronts.
Of the state’s 7.7 million voters, 2.3 million already requested a mail-in ballot. Benson anticipates another 700,000 will request later.
She expects 5 million to turn out for voting — which would soar past the 4.8 million voters in the 2016 election and possibly give the 2008 Obama-McCain election (5,010,129 votes and 66.9 percent of all people of voting age) a run for the record.
Benson urged voters last week to “make a plan” and called on them to exercise one of their many voting options.
“Democracy is a team sport,” she said.
In Michigan you can:
Vote in-person at the polls on Election Day Nov. 3, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Request and get an absentee voter ballot that can be returned up to 8 p.m. on Election Day by way of mail or drop-box.
Voters with qualifying disabilities may apply for an accessible electronic absent voter ballot at Michigan.gov/Vote.
Because so many, possibly more than half of us, will be casting absentee ballots this year, it’s worth a beat to get organized ahead of time.
Usually mail voting is fairly anti-climatic, but this climate is something else.