FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DETROIT, Mich. – The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Michigan applauds Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson for announcing plans to mail absentee ballot applications to all registered voters for the August primary and November general elections to ensure both public health and the right to vote are protected during the COVID-19 pandemic. The state will include a cover letter advising voters that they can submit their completed application by mail or by emailing a photo of it to their local clerk.
This is ACLU Voting Rights Strategist Sharon Dolente’s reaction:
“We commend Secretary of State Benson for taking steps to ensure voters can cast their ballots by mail during this pandemic. Voting is a sacred right that we must safeguard and protect even in our most challenging times. We look forward to working with the SOS and local clerks on other ways to ensure every eligible voter can vote, and that their vote will count, as our democracy depends on it.”
The ACLU of Michigan also encourages state and local officials to take additional steps to increase voter accessibility to the ballot during the pandemic:
- Increase the number of drop boxes and drive-through options for voters to submit their absentee ballot. Drop boxes will avoid in-person contact and provide a method for voters to submit absentee ballots in the waning days before an election.
- Maintain locations for voters to register and vote in person to ensure this option is available, especially for voters with disabilities, limited English proficiency, and others that need to vote in person.
- Ensure absentee ballots postmarked by Election Day and received within six days are counted.
- Guarantee postage paid return envelopes for all absentee ballots to avoid additional contact with the post office.
- Invest in educating the public on new voting options, and provide resources, training, and support for election officials adjusting to these changes.