The City of Ypsilanti received roughly seven times more absentee ballot requests than is normal for a general election.
In 2018, the state of Michigan changed election rules to provide absentee ballots as a right to all voters in Michigan. This, combined with the recent COVID-19 pandemic, has pushed the increased influx of requests for absentee ballots.
The City of Ypsilanti Clerk's Office sent out the absentee ballots to residents by the deadline on Sept. 24. “We recommend that if you have not received your ballot by next Wednesday [Oct. 7], to let us know, and then we’ll give you advice on how to have another ballot sent out,” said Ypsilanti’s City Clerk, Andrew Hellenga.
Anyone wishing to request an absentee ballot must be registered to vote in order to receive it. In Michigan, it is possible to register and apply for an absentee voter ballot at the same time when visiting the local clerk’s office. The City of Ypsilanti’s Clerk's Office is located at 1 S. Huron St.
If you are already registered to vote, you can click here to download the absent voter ballot application.
“You can fill out an application, you would then receive your ballot. While you’re here [clerk’s office], we do have voting booths set up in our council chambers, and you can fill out the ballot and submit it all while you’re here,” Hellenga said.
Dropboxes are also a useful tool to use in order to submit an absentee ballot on time. With many people attempting to responsibly social distance themselves, a dropbox is a perfect way to submit a ballot without coming into close contact with someone else.
Hellenga used a grant received from the Center for Tech and Civic Life to purchase two dropboxes, giving the city a total of three. One will be placed at the Parkridge Community Center, another at Eastern Michigan University’s Student Center, and one is currently located at City Hall. According to Hellenga, the dropboxes were shipped by the supplier on Sept. 30, and they will be placed in their locations once they arrive.
Anyone wishing to vote with an absentee ballot must return their ballot to the clerk’s office by 8 p.m. on Nov. 3 (Election Day). If someone is planning on mailing their ballot to the clerk’s office, it is recommended to mail it in as soon as possible to ensure that it is received on time. With recent changes to the United States Postal Service, mail deliveries are expected to be heavily delayed.