Absentee voting might increase voter turnout in Mason’s November election, says Clerk Sarah Jarvis.
On Nov. 2, residents of Mason will vote on the Park, Trailway, and Pathway Millage proposal. Jarvis said absentee voting boosts turnout for smaller elections, such as this. The City of Mason has a Permanent Absent Voter List, which allows people to automatically receive absentee ballot applications for every election.
“Smaller elections tend to get overlooked,” Jarvis said. “This way, we already notified 3,000 people, which is almost half of our voters, that there’s an election.”
In 2018, Michigan voters approved a proposal that allows no-reason absentee voting. This means all voters have the opportunity to vote by absentee ballot, without needing to justify their reason.
“With the change in the law, it really has opened up that there’s a larger turnout, but in absentee,” Jarvis said.
Barb Byrum, Ingham County clerk, trusts the absentee voting process in local elections, like the one in Mason.
“Absentee voting is extraordinarily secure in Michigan,” Byrum said. “There are checks all along the way by the clerk and by Democrat and Republican precinct inspectors.”
When polls close on election night, all results are brought to Byrum, who works with the Ingham County Board of Canvassers to go through the entire election and certify it.
“We’ve had overwhelming comments of people who really like the absentee ballot process,” Jarvis said. “They like to be able to take their time at home and vote, and then send it in at their own convenience. I just think it’s a little less stressful on people.”
Priscilla Willis, 78, is a resident of Mason voting in the millage proposal election. Willis agrees with the convenience provided by absentee voting.
“We quite often are out of town for a couple of months during voting season and it’s just easier for us, being seniors, to just fill out the ballot and send it in,” Willis said.
The City of Mason first sent out absentee ballots on Sept. 23. However, residents can still apply for an absentee ballot up until the day before the election. To find more information on how to absent vote for the Nov. 2 election, go to the City of Mason website.
“I encourage all qualified, registered voters to exercise their right to vote, whether that be by absentee ballot or in-person voting on election day,” Byrum said.