Michigan voters will now be able to vote safely this November


Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson noted that most voters 'across the political spectrum want the option to vote by mail.'

Every voter in Michigan will automatically receive an absentee ballot application for elections to be held in August and November, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced on Tuesday, the Detroit Free Press reported.

"By mailing applications, we have ensured that no Michigander has to choose between their health and their right to vote. Voting by mail is easy, convenient, safe, and secure, and every voter in Michigan has the right to do it," Benson, a Democrat, said in a statement.

Benson also noted that most voters "across the political spectrum want the option to vote by mail," a statement supported by recent polls.

After Michigan voters sign the application, they can either mail it to their local election clerk or take a photo of it and email it in. Voters can also download the absentee ballot application at Michigan.gov/vote.

Michigan is a key battleground state in the 2020 presidential election. An average of recent polls shows presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden leading Donald Trump 46% to 41%. However, Trump carried the state in 2016 by 0.3%, or about 11,000 of 4.5 million votes cast.

The state also has a potentially competitive U.S. Senate race between Democratic incumbent Gary Peters and Republican John James. Recent polls show Peters leading by about seven points.

The announcement came as other states make the move to mail-in voting. California Gov. Gavin Newsom recently announced that every voter in the state will receive an absentee ballot in the mail for the November election.

On Tuesday, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order stating that every voter in the state will receive an absentee ballot or application, depending on their party registration status, in the mail for the state's upcoming July 7 primary.

Attempts to expand safer voting during the coronavirus have been met in some states by opposition from Republican officials.

In Texas, Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton falsely claimed that increased absentee voting "damages the integrity of our elections and increases the risk of voter fraud," despite no evidence backing up his claim.

In Wisconsin, Republicans fought against efforts by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers to postpone an April 7 election to allow more time for voters to cast absentee ballots, resulting in thousands of voters being forced to risk their health in order to vote.

Despite voting by mail himself, Trump has falsely stated that absentee ballots are dangerous and lead to fraud.

The Michigan Republican Party did not respond to a request for comment about Benson's announcement.

The decision to expand absentee voting "is smart and necessary," Maddie McComb, a Democratic National Committee spokesperson, said in an email, adding that the decision ensures "people can vote without fear of risking their health this year."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.