from The Calhoun County League of Women Voters of Kalamazoo Area
Given the spread of Covid in Calhoun County, it is wise to have a voting plan outside of voting at the polls. The Calhoun County League of Women Voters Kalamazoo Area, along with several other organizations throughout the State of Michigan site (www.mi.gov/vote), are working to alleviate confusion about the new procedures, particularly given concerns about visiting public polling places amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Michigan voters have new options to more safely cast their ballot amid the coronavirus pandemic, including no-reason absentee voting for all, thanks to a 2018 state constitutional amendment. In addition, special precautions are planned at polling places to safeguard voters and poll workers from COVID-19.
Any eligible Michigan voter can vote by mail, also known as voting by absentee ballot. Voters must first apply for an absentee ballot by filling out an application. Michigan residents may have received an application in the mail in September. If not, the application is available to print or complete online at www.mi.gov/vote, along with information about absentee voting. Applications can be completed online through October 20. After October 20, the completed application must be sent or delivered to your local clerk. With slowed mail services, hand delivery of your application is highly recommended to ensure you receive your ballot in time. Applications for absentee ballots are also available at your local clerk’s office.
Another alternative for safe voting is to vote early in person at your clerk’s office. If you still need to register to vote, you must do so at your clerk’s office after October 19. A list of Calhoun County clerks can be found online at mi.gov/vote. Be sure to check current business hours.
When you receive your absentee ballot, follow the instructions carefully. A large number of absentee ballots were not counted in the primary election because the voter failed to sign the envelope. You MUST return your absentee ballot to a drop box in the city/township in which you are registered to vote. Be sure to SIGN AND DATE the outside return envelope before returning your ballot. If you have questions about your ballot, call your local clerk.
Voters should return their completed absentee ballot as soon as possible to their local clerk. The League of Women Voters urges you to HAND DELIVER your completed ballot to your local clerk or in your clerk’s dropbox, instead of using the US Mail, to avoid any delays.
Most Michigan cities and townships have drop boxes; the location of your clerk’s drop box/slot is listed below or can be found at https://www.michigandropbox.com. All drop boxes/slots should be clearly marked or are slots directly into your clerk’s office. Only use drop boxes/slots that are for your assigned clerk. The drop boxes/slots are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week until 8 pm on Election Day, November 3, 2020. If you are out of town, please mail your ballot right away (by October 20, if possible) to avoid any delays.
To learn about the candidates and proposals on the ballot, go to VOTE411.org. This site was launched by the National League of Women Voters launched in 2006. The League of Women Voters of Michigan 2020 Nonpartisan Voter’s Guide is also available at https://lwvmi.org/documents/VoterGuideNov20202.pdf. Printed copies are also available throughout Calhoun County at the libraries, clerks’ offices, and a limited number of other locations while supplies last. Contact the Calhoun County LWV at LWVKAcalhouncounty@yahoo.com if you have questions regarding the guide.
With so many issues facing our seniors, it is most important to make your voices heard, and make them heard safely.