We repeat: Michigan, do NOT mail your absent voter ballot! Drop it off instead.

We've said it once before but it bears repeating: if you were planning to vote by mail using an absentee ballot for the upcoming general election — don't. It's too late to send it by mail.

Your local clerk will not mail you an absentee voter ballot after today (Friday, Oct. 30). And anyway, at this point it's too risky to return it by mail. Due to President Donald Trump's suspiciously timed cuts to U.S. Postal Service (seriously, you're suddenly concerned about the efficiency of the mail system, during a pandemic?!), mail is much, much slower than usual. In fact, according to a report by Sen. Gary Peters (who we think you should vote for, by the way), the Detroit area had the slowest mail delivery rate in the nation in early October. And the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled in favor of a the Republican-controlled legislature, reversing a decision that would have allowed late-arriving ballots to be counted up to 14 days after Election Day.

In other words, your mail-in ballot would have to be post-marked by Election Day, and the current mail system can't guarantee that.

Fortunately, it's not too late to cast your vote. At this point, your best best is to return your absentee voter ballot in person at a designated drop-off box or at your local clerk or vote in-person on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3.

But you might want to just vote early, since officials are warning of the potential for chaos on Election Day. A recent report placed Michigan among five states with the highest risk of violence during and after the election. Another report predicted the U.S. is especially susceptible to violence due to the widening chasm of inequality. To make matters worse, on Tuesday, a Michigan judge struck down Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson's directive banning the open carry of guns at polling places on Election Day, and the Trump campaign has called for an "Army of Trump" to watch the polls. Attorney General Dana Nessel has ordered Michigan State Police troopers to help keep the peace at polls.

Due to the increased demand for absentee voter ballots, officials say we're unlikely to see results on Election Day, and are urging people to be patient while they tally every vote. This could also fan the flames of civil unrest, especially if Trump casts doubt on the legitimacy of the process. (He already has.)

So cast your ballot, don't be a dick, and be patient. This could take a while.

More information is available in our voter guide and at Michigan.gov/vote.

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About The Author

Lee DeVito

Leyland "Lee" DeVito grew up in the suburbs of Detroit, where he read Metro Times religiously due to teenaged-induced boredom. He became a contributing writer for Metro Times in 2009, and Editor in Chief in 2016. In addition to writing, he also supplies occasional illustrations. His writing has been published...
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