No-reason absentee voting option starts Thursday in Michigan

By  | 

FLINT TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) -- Michigan voters can start casting an absentee ballot without giving a reason.

Thursday is the first day residents can request to vote by mail in the May election. It is the first election since voters last fall approved no-reason absentee voting as part of a ballot initiative.

Previously, absentee voters had to be at least 60 years old, be out of town when the polls are open or be unable to vote on Election Day due to a physical disability, religious tenets or incarceration.

Requests for an absent voter ballot can be submitted in writing to the local city or township clerk.

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Flint Township Clerk Kathy Funk are holding a news conference Thursday to welcome the new era of no-reason absentee voting.

Also, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has put together a committee to advise her administration and Michigan's Elections bureau on election reforms.

Benson's office says the Election Modernization Advisory Committee includes county, city and township clerks from across the state, Michigan-based voting rights advocates, and local and national election experts.

The committee is to provide input, suggestions and feedback on the execution of reforms related to Proposal 3 which was passed by voters in November.

Proposal 3 involves changes to Michigan's election laws, including the institution of absentee voting for any reason, automatic voter registration and the ability to register up to and on election day.