Absentee but extremely engaged voters

We checked the box to vote for no-reason absentee ballots when the question came up in 2018.

We weren’t alone.

Michigan voters screamingly affirmed the “Promote the Vote” Proposal 3 question two-to-one, putting same-day voter registration and other changes in motion.

The Nov. 5 election was our first road test.

Unofficially — tallies aren’t official for another few weeks — not only do we want absentee ballots, but we will use them.

Clerks across the state reported record numbers of returns; absentee votes made up 30 percent of voters in Rochester; 32 percent in East Lansing.

Not to be competitive, but we can beat that.

Unofficially, 39 percent of Leland Township voters used absentee ballots to chime in on the early childhood services millage (it passed).

Traverse City numbers showed 49 percent absentee rates, up from 42 percent in the last election and 37 in the one before.

Absentee ballots even overtook the sewer question in Northport, with far more absentee voters than the old fashioned kind — 66 percent of the vote in Leelanau Township and 75 percent of the vote in Northport Village.

We feel like no-reason absentee voting is a good move that accommodates our modern lives.

But we should also accommodate the people who count them.

Currently clerks can’t start counting absentee ballots until the polls open on Election Day. We will may need to revisit this, as more and more of us use the absentee option.

Already absentee restrictions seem quaint. Young children will look confused when we tell of the days when we needed to be of a certain age or have a valid reason to absentee vote. “Why?” they will ask us.

We won’t remember, and will consult the internet to answer them.

— Traverse City Record-Eagle


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