SOS Jocelyn Benson says absentee ballot applications will be mailed to all voters for May 5 election

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LANSING, MI (WILX) -- Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced that absent voter ballot applications will be mailed to all voters for the May 5 election.

This is being done to help ensure public health in addition to the protection of Democratic rights, according to Benson's office.

“Our country has a long history of carrying out elections in times of crisis, and we are fortunate to have the tools to uphold that history today,” said Benson. “Voting by mail protects public health, is highly accessible, and was clearly mandated by Michiganders when they overwhelmingly voted in 2018 to amend our state constitution and afford everyone this right.”

For the past two weeks, Benson's office said she has been working with clerks across the state to figure out if they need to hold an election in May or if they could be postponed until August.

Benson's office said the majority of the questions on the May ballots deal with school district millages and bonds and many districts have postponed. Benson has given city clerks and entities a few more days to make their decision.

For those that chose not to postpone, the Board of Elections will mail an absentee ballot to all voters with postage-paid return envelopes unless those voters have already requested an absentee ballot.

“We are also working to ensure the health and safety guidelines of our state and federal government are followed in the lead up to and administration of the May 5 election,” said Benson. “This includes working to recruit election workers to serve in all jurisdictions and providing hygiene supplies and explicit guidance on how to process absent-voter ballots and carry out other election duties while observing strict health precautions.”

Benson's office said the state will include a cover letter explaining that voting by mail is the optimal way to cast a ballot due to the coronavirus pandemic and will assist local jurisdictions in making sure postage-paid return envelopes are mailed to all of those who request ballots.

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