How Ingham voters can receive absentee ballots

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With Election Day looming, voter turnout in Ingham County may not be as high as it was for the presidential election. However,  there are a couple proposals related to raising county taxes amid budget cuts.

Even if they cannot be at the polls on Nov. 7, county residents can still vote. First-time voters must vote in person, but other voters may be eligible to use absentee ballots under certain circumstances.

“Working across the globe makes voting with the absentee ballot a lot easier,” East Lansing resident James Bonneville said. “It’s not a presidential year, so I may not be voting anyway.”

Bonneville is eligible to receive an absentee ballot under one of the state’s many provisions under the absentee ballot. Registered voters over the age of 60 are also able to get absentee ballots, as well as those unable to vote without assistance or unable to attend due to religious reasons.

“I’ve used the absentee ballot for years now,” said Frances McDonald, 73, of Meridian Township. “I’ve voted every year for as long as I can remember, even if I don’t have strong opinions. It’s important to me as an American citizen.”

McDonald uses a walker both in and out of home, and is exactly the type of voter that benefits from the state’s policy.

Voters can figure out their own registration on the state’s website. A 2012 New York Times study found that about 20 percent of Michigan’s voters statewide used absentee ballots to cast their votes.

“Absentee ballots are more about convenience for me than anything else,” Jacob Eberstrom, 34, of East Lansing. “Every now and then, I’m unable to vote in person and having those ballots makes my life a whole lot easier.”

Registered voters who qualify may pick one up or, if they call by 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 4, have one mailed to their homes. 

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