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Benson signs bill for online absentee ballot requests

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson on Friday signed into law, as acting governor, legislation codifying her office’s practice of allowing registered and qualified voters to apply for an absentee ballot online.

The Michigan constitution allows for an “acting governor” to sign legislation, in the event the governor and lieutenant governor are away on business.

“I’m grateful for this opportunity to serve as acting governor and sign this important bill to improve Michigan’s election system,” Benson said in a news release. “As Michigan’s Secretary of State, I implemented our state’s online absentee ballot application system in 2020 to provide a convenient, accessible way for Michigan citizens to request their ballot. Now this system is codified into law.”

Benson added that HB 4570 will help Michigan continue conducting secure and accessible elections.

The bill amends Michigan Election Law to require the Secretary of State to maintain an online portal allowing those eligible to vote to request an absentee voter ballot.

The bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Julie Rogers, D-Kalamazoo, said in the same news release the bill helps keep a system that allows voters to have more options when interacting with the election process to continue.

“With Proposal 2 (of 2022), Michigan voters expressed a desire for more voting options and easier access to the ballot box that maintains election security,” Rogers said. “This legislation reflects those desires and safeguards your freedom to vote by having an absentee ballot sent to your home upon request without requiring an unnecessary physical trip.”

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Michigan Advance is part of States Newsroom, a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit. For more, go to https://michiganadvance.com/.

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