Absentee voting and voting in person are two options Michigan State University students and East Lansing residents have to vote this year, and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said absentee voting is just as safe as voting in person.
According to Benson, there are several security protocols put in place to ensure that absentee voting is secure and that seek to validate an absentee ballot.
“We require every ballot to be validated before it’s counted,” Benson said. “You have to sign the outside of the envelope and that signature is then matched to your signature on file, and that’s how we confirm a voter’s identity, and no ballot is counted without that confirmation.”
Ballots need to be dropped off on Election Day by 8 p.m. and the vote will still count.
“That’s why we want everyone to track your ballot at michigan.gov/vote, that’s where you can confirm that it’s been received,” Benson said.
Voters can confirm their ballot has been received and track their ballot at michigan.gov/vote. Benson suggests to contact your local clerk’s office to talk about ways to make sure your ballot counts.
Benson said if a person is not registered to vote, they can go to their city or township clerk’s office on or before Election Day, register, get a ballot and vote all on the same day.
For students and residents that want to vote in person, Benson said there are safety guidelines put in place at polling locations that enforce the poll workers to social distance, wear a mask, a sneeze guard and gloves while providing hand sanitizer and social distancing of six feet.
“We’re encouraging you to use a much more reliable way of getting your ballot to your clerk on time by either hand delivering it at their office or dropping it off at your local drop box,” Benson said.
Students and residents can register to vote on the City of East Lansing website. MSU students can also access general knowledge on how and where to vote in the upcoming election at www.msuvote.msu.edu.
The League of Women Voters of Michigan said voters are not required to wear a mask at the polling locations, but it is recommended.