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Thursday December 03, 2020
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How to Vote

And how to make sure it's counted.

by James Leonard

From the October, 2020 issue

According to the Washington Post, "six in 10 registered voters nationwide say they want to cast their ballots before Election Day." Ed Golembiewski, Washtenaw County's chief deputy clerk and director of elections, reckons it'll be much higher here: "Voters are going to be encouraged by the [Secretary of State], the county, their local clerk, the media, political parties, candidates-truly everyone under the sun-to vote and return their ballot as soon as possible after they receive it," he emails.

To facilitate absentee voting, the state mailed applications to every registered voter. Voters can also request an absentee ballot online until October 30. Ballots will be mailed out beginning September 24.

Ballots can be returned by mail or other courier service, but in the final seven days before the election, the city recommends using the dedicated drop boxes in city hall's north and south vestibules, which are accessible 24/7. Additional drop boxes will be provided before election day; for information, email, call (734) 794-6140, or check the clerk's webpage-go to and search for "elections."

In addition to making it easier to vote absentee, new rules passed in 2018 allow voters to register as late as Election Day, either at the clerk's office in city hall or a temporary satellite office at the U-M Museum of Art. Registrants can request an absentee ballot and vote it immediately.

If you vote early and later change your mind before the election, you can "spoil" the first ballot by submitting a written request to the city clerk. Mailed requests must be received no later than 2 p.m. the Saturday before the election (Oct. 31); an absentee ballot may be spoiled in person at the clerk's office until 4 p.m. the day before the election (Nov. 2). There is no option on Election Day to spoil an absentee ballot that has been received by the clerk.

Want to be sure your ballot is received? Check the Michigan Secretary of State voter information page online at

It's still possible to vote in person! If you don't know your polling place, contact the clerk's office, or search online for "Ann Arbor polling places."     (end of article)

[Originally published in October, 2020.]


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