Michigan absentee ballot requests top 1 million mark
Lansing — Local clerks had sent absentee ballots to more than 1 million Michigan voters through Monday, a 63 percent jump over the same point in 2014 that could foreshadow record midterm turnout in the Nov. 6 election.
The Detroit News reported Monday that absentee ballot requests were up 22 percent compared with the same point four years ago, fueling optimism among Democrats who typically struggle to turn out voters in non-presidential elections.
But the surge is actually significantly larger, according to new and corrected data from the Michigan Secretary of State's Department. The office last week shared erroneous data for past-year elections, a spokesman confirmed.
Fifteen days out from the election, clerks had mailed out 1,008,904 absentee ballots to voters who had requested one and provided an excuse, according to the updated data. That’s up from 617,924 ballots at the same point four years ago and 876,281 for the entire 2014 cycle.
Clerks had recorded more than 386,308 absentee ballot returns through Monday, up 54 percent from 251,244 at the same point in 2014, when a total of 809,697 absentee ballots were eventually cast in the general election.
Voter turnout is typically significantly higher in presidential elections, and absentee ballot requests are still narrowly behind the pace set in 2016. Clerks had mailed out 1,068,143 absentee ballots by this point two years ago, according to the state.
Still, the increase in requests over 2014 is part of the reason experts are predicting more than 4 million voters will participate in the Nov. 6 election, which would be a record turnout figure for a Michigan midterm.
Roughly 3.2 million voters participated in the last midterm four years ago, while 4.8 million voters cast ballots in the 2016 presidential election.
Through Monday in Oakland County, clerks had sent out 64,985 more ballots than they had at the same point in 2014, a 64 percent uptick, according to the latest state data.
Wayne County requests were up by 55,631 ballots, or 49 percent, while Macomb County clerks had sent out 35,374 additional ballots, a 52 percent jump.