Clerk highlights changes in voting

By: Alex Szwarc | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published January 20, 2020

 A new design change to absentee ballot envelopes is being rolled out, beginning with the presidential primary election on March 10. The change was required by the state to assist the USPS with the direction of ballots to the voters and clerk’s office.

A new design change to absentee ballot envelopes is being rolled out, beginning with the presidential primary election on March 10. The change was required by the state to assist the USPS with the direction of ballots to the voters and clerk’s office.

File photo by Deb Jacques

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MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Attention, voters.

Statewide mandated changes have been made to absentee envelopes that will be received by voters in 2020.

The Bureau of Elections requested that the new design be rolled out this year, beginning with the presidential primary election on March 10.

Now, the white envelope with the blue strip on the left side indicates to the United States Postal Service, or USPS, that it goes to a voter. The white envelope with the green strip on the left side is returned to the clerk.

The change was required by the state of Michigan to assist the USPS with the direction of ballots to the voters and Clerk’s Office.

“The voters are accustomed to the manila-colored envelope, which for years signified their absentee ballot has arrived,” Macomb Township Clerk Kristi Pozzi said. “That’s no longer coming.”

Those wishing to receive a mail-in ballot must complete an application. Applications can be found at macomb-mi.gov, contacting the Macomb Township Clerk’s Office at (586) 992-0710 ext. 3, or by visiting michigan.gov/vote.

If voters need to have their ballot sent to an alternative address and did not indicate so on the mail-in ballot application, they may contact the Clerk’s Office. After voting, the ballot can be returned to the Clerk’s Office on or before election day by 8 p.m.

“I believe St. Clair Shores piloted this last year,” Pozzi said. “We haven’t had an election with the new envelopes yet.”  

Ballots can be returned via mail with a 50 cent stamp, or dropped off at several locations at Macomb Township Hall: a drive-up ballot drop box located in front of the building, a drop box in the lobby, a walk-up drop box located at the top of the ramp at the back of the building, or a drop box located on the second floor of the building at the Clerk’s Office. Macomb Township Hall is open 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and is located at 54111 Broughton Road.

Online voter registration began in December for the 2020 elections.

Pozzi, who is also the president of the Macomb County Clerk’s Association, said the association discussed the new change at a recent meeting, and there haven’t been as many complications as anticipated.

In November 2017, Michigan voters passed Proposal 18-3, which allows all registered voters to exercise their right to no-reason mail-in voting.

If interested in voting this way, individuals can fill in the name of the voter at a house and return by mail, deliver in person to the Clerk’s Office, take a picture of the completed form and email the picture to clerks@macomb-mi.gov, text MTCLERK to 555888, or call the Clerk’s Office and ask to be placed on the mailing list.

“Another big change was that you don’t have to have a reason to mail in an absentee ballot,” Pozzi said.  

By completing this form, voters are added to the mailing list and will automatically receive an absentee voter application for a ballot about 45 days prior to each election.

Michigan voters are required to complete and return an absentee voter application before the mail-in ballot can be issued.

Regarding the March presidential primary election, Pozzi said if voters are on the township’s absentee mail-in voting list, they have received the application for an absentee ballot.

“Michigan election law requires voters indicate on the application which political party ballot they wish to vote,” Pozzi said. “This requirement only applies to the presidential primary elections.”

Pozzi noted the Clerk’s Office mailed over 21,000 applications in late December, with about 5,000 returned thus far. There are approximately 62,000 registered voters in Macomb Township.

She anticipates presidential primary ballots will be mailed the first week of February.  

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