• Michigan has already seen an increase in absentee ballots from the implementation of Prop 3 of 2018 and is on track for record turnout for the upcoming 2020 election cycle.
  • House Bills 5447 and 5448 would allow clerks and elections inspectors to begin processing absentee ballots the Monday before an election and provide $3 million in additional funding to local governments to purchase high-speed tabulators and other equipment to be used for the increase in absentee ballots.
  • House Bills 5449 and 5450 would allow election workers to work in shifts and allocate $1.5 million to increase the pay for current election workers or hire new election workers.

LANSING — Proposal 3 of 2018 increased voter rights and access to the ballot that included a provision allowing no-reason absentee voting. State Reps. Leslie Love (D-Detroit) and Kara Hope (D-Holt) introduced a package of bills to increase ballot-counting efficiency and keep Michigan’s elections running smoothly in the future by accommodating these changes.

“We have a perfect opportunity to set precedent rather and be proactive on improving our elections counting process,” said Love, sponsor of HBs 5447 and 5448. “Prop 3 was all about putting the power of government back into the hands of the people. Now we have a responsibility to modernize the counting process, so our election workers are equipped to meet the new demands.”

Michigan is expecting record-breaking turnout and without the prescribed reforms in this package, Michigan’s clerks and election workers may not be able to keep up with the increased volume. This could potentially cause unnecessary delays and embarrassing errors.

“I think it’s great that more Michigan residents are going to participate in our democracy and vote this year,” said Hope, sponsor of HBs 5449 and 5450. “But our clerks need the tools to handle the higher volume of ballots. These bills do just that by giving them the resources necessary to make sure absentee ballots get counted efficiently and accurately.”

“Democracy is a team effort. We must all work together to administer elections that match voters‘ expectations and protect their right to securely cast an absentee ballot,” said Sec. Jocelyn Benson. “I am grateful for Representatives Hope and Love for heeding the call of clerks around the state for more time to fully process ballots. They are proposing real solutions that go beyond lip service to effectively address the challenges at hand.  My team is committed to working with them and other legislative leaders to update our laws and ensure our clerks have the support they need and that our elections are efficient and secure.”