Miller's Plan Increasing Access to Absentee Ballots Passes House

Residents on list would automatically receive absentee ballot applications for elections

LANSING – A plan introduced by State Representative Fred Miller (D-Mount Clemens) that passed the House today will require that all city and township clerks keep a permanent absent voter list. Residents who request that their name be included on this list would then automatically receive an absentee voter ballot application for every election.

“Every Michigan resident has the right to cast their vote and have their voice heard,” Miller said. “Unfortunately, many of our residents aren’t physically able to get to the polls on Election Day.  By having an absentee ballot application automatically sent to their home for every election, my plan will make voting absentee one step easier for all residents who do so.”

Under Miller’s plan, registered voters could request that their city or township clerk add them to the permanent absent voter list by fax, telephone, e-mail, first-class mail or in person. The voter would then receive an application for an absentee ballot for each election. A registered voter could request to be removed from the list by contacting their clerk. The plan also requires that each voter application produced by the state gives voters the option to mark if they would like to be included on the permanent absent voter list.

“The government isn’t shy about routinely mass mailing tax bills – it should not shy away from mass mailing absent voter applications. In fact, many of our local clerks throughout Michigan already maintain a permanent absent voter list,” Miller said. “My legislation makes it a requirement and creates uniform statewide standards which also allows your absent voter status to stay with you if you move. This gives residents across the state the same rights and access when they want to vote absentee.”

Miller worked with Macomb County Clerk Carmella Sabaugh in putting together the legislation. According to written testimony by Sabaugh, data shows that the better voters are informed of their voting rights, the more they vote. Mass mailing absent voter application forms at bulk rate postage would save tax dollars because fewer individual requests would have to be sent at first-class postage rates.

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