LANSING – The Michigan League of Conservation Voters today issued the following statement after Senate Bill 757 passed out of the state Senate. The legislation allows clerks and their staff to open the first, outer envelope of absentee ballots ahead of election day to allow for quicker turnaround of vote counts. As passed, the legislation allows clerks and poll workers to begin pre-processing ballots from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. before election day, instead of a full 24 hour window as originally proposed. The legislation now moves to the State House.
“Allowing clerk’s to open the first, outer return envelope of absentee ballots this election is a necessary step to ensure Michiganders have timely election results, but we should be giving them the necessary time they need to do this critically important job” said Lisa Wozniak, civic executive director of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters. “During these unprecedented times with Covid-19, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle should be doing everything in their power to ensure Michiganders can safely cast their votes at home this election and do so with confidence in the process. The changes to SB 757 greatly reduce the amount of time clerks and their staff have to open the outer envelopes of ballots, and lawmakers in the House should work to improve this legislation to at least give clerks and their staff the full 24-hours in the previous version of the bill to ensure all of our votes are counted swiftly and securely on election day.”
“This one change, while important, shows that there is real need for additional legislative action to protect our elections and ensure Michiganders’ voices are heard — by making sure we have secure-location drop boxes for ballots, and staffed, satellite clerk hours so people can safely cast their ballots in-person,” added Wozniak.