Benson: August voters should return ballots in-person, at drop boxes

Beth LeBlanc
The Detroit News

Michigan voters submitting an absentee ballot for local Aug. 3 elections should return their ballots in person or at a drop box instead of by mail. 

People who did not receive an absentee ballot and who would like to vote before Aug. 3 should visit their local clerk's office up to Aug. 2 to receive a ballot, vote and return it in the same stop. 

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson issued the advisory Friday. With a little more than two weeks before the election, residents should not rely on the mail system to get their ballot in on time, she said. 

"Whether it’s voting absentee by mail or at their local clerk, drop box, or in person on Election Day, voters can be confident no matter how they choose to exercise their rights, the process will be safe and secure and their vote will be counted and their voices heard," Benson said in a statement. 

Litonya Bennett puts her completed ballot in an official ballot drop box in front of city hall in Inkster, Michigan  on November 2, 2020.

People can register to vote online through Monday. Michigan's same-day registration law, passed in 2018, allows individuals to register after Monday but they must do so in person at the clerk's office through 8 p.m. on Election Day. 

Voters in 54 counties will head to the polls or vote absentee in a variety of Aug. 3 elections across the state.

In Detroit, the Aug. 3 primary will feature races for mayor, city clerk and city council seats, a race in which only three out of seven city council districts are contested. Voters could also weigh in on Proposal P, which seeks to permanently change the city charter, but the Michigan Supreme Court still is deciding whether the proposal is a valid ballot issue.

Detroit Clerk Janice Winfrey, who is running for reelection, expects about a 13% to 18% voter turnout in Detroit. Turnout in August 2020 was 25%.

Detroit has decreased the number of available drop boxes from 30 in the presidential election to 20 for the Aug. 3 primary.

Staff writer Sarah Rahal contributed.