The 2020 Michigan Primary Election is coming up on August 4 and coronavirus cases across the state are still on the rise.
According to the State of Michigan’s website, there are more than 87,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases over 6,400 deaths across the state.
Michigan voters who feel uncomfortable voting in person amid the pandemic have the option to vote by mail with an absentee ballot.
The state mailed absentee voting applications to all registered Michigan voters in May. Those who applied to receive an absentee ballot for the primary should have already received it in the mail.
If you have received your absentee ballot in the mail, it simply needs to be filled out following the instructions and returned by 8 p.m. on August 4. Postage is required. If you do not want to mail in your absentee ballot, it can be returned by dropping it off at your local clerk’s office or drop box (if available) by 8 p.m. on August 4.
Not everyone supports voting by mail — some, including President Donald Trump, criticized Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson when she announced she would send absentee ballot applications to all 7.7 million registered voters in Michigan. The president and others, without citing evidence, say increased voting by mail will lead to more cases of election fraud.
For those who would like to vote in person, there will be new procedures in place at the polls. Face masks are not required to be worn when voting in person in Michigan, according to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Face coverings are still highly encouraged — and, now, often required — to be worn when around people who live outside of your household to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“We want to encourage and enforce masking up, but we certainly recognize the inherent right to go in and cast your ballot,” the Governor said at a news conference last Friday.
Gov. Whitmer recently signed an executive order requiring face masks or coverings to be worn in any indoor, and some outdoor, public spaces in the state due to rising number of COVID-19 cases.
Janice Winfrey, clerk of Detroit says that if anyone prefers to go vote in person, that it will be perfectly safe. Winfrey said precincts will have gloves, masks, thermometers, wipes, and masks available.
“We’re even doing drive-through voting where the voter really doesn’t even have to get out of the car other than to put that ballot through the tabulator,” she said.
All voters must show a photo ID or sign an affidavit attesting that you do not have a photo ID in order to cast a ballot. Voters can satisfy the ID requirement by showing a Michigan driver’s license or a Michigan personal identification card.
If you do not have a driver’s license or other form of photo ID, you can get a state ID card at your local Secretary of State branch for $10. People over 65, people who have had driving privileges terminated due to physical or mental disability or are blind do not need to pay this fee.
Absentee ballot applications are also being accepted for the upcoming 2020 General Election on November 3.
For more information on the 2020 election, please visit: https://www.michigan.gov/