Michigan lawmakers approve early absentee ballot processing

AP – Michigan election officials would begin processing absentee ballots two days before the Nov. 8 election under legislation approved Wednesday in hopes of avoiding delays in counting, with absentee voting expected to remain a popular option.

Voting explainer: In many states, there’s a process to fix an error with your ballot

NPR – During big U.S. elections, hundreds of thousands of mail ballots are typically thrown out and left uncounted. In 2020, for instance, more than 560,000 ballots were rejected (that’s nearly 1% of the total).

Experts say ballot rejections are largely the result of relatively minor voter errors, often associated with security measures that are designed to verify a voter’s identity.

That’s why about half of states have a process in place to help voters fix their mail ballots if they do make a mistake. It’s known as ballot curing.

The ‘Cost’ of Voting in America: A Look at Where It’s Easiest and Hardest

New York Times – The two categories given the most weight, according to Scot Schraufnagel, a political scientist at Northern Illinois University and an author of the study, were ease of registration to vote and the availability of early voting, both in person and by mail. The study’s emphasis on early-voting options meant that states like Washington and Oregon, where voting is conducted entirely by mail, ended up at the top of the rankings.

The Newest Democratic Fight to Make Vote by Mail Easier

Washington Monthly – In the lead-up to this year’s primaries, Ohio state Representative Michael Skindell got a call from a voter with considerable clout—his mother. Like many in the state, she felt frustrated having to apply, year after year, to receive mail-in ballots––especially during this year’s electoral chaos, when a tumultuous redistricting battle in the state led to primary elections in both May and August. Why, she asked, couldn’t she just sign up once and be done with it—that is, become a permanent absentee voter?

Mail-ballot voters turnout at higher rates than polling place voters

Since 2020, mail-ballot use has been on the rise across the U.S., resulting in more voters having access to the ballot box. The 2022 primary elections were no exception. 

On average, vote-at-home states (and Montana, with 89% of votes cast from mailed-out ballots in its primary) saw 35% turnout during the primaries. This is compared to the lower average turnout in states that require their voters to request a mailed ballot for every election without needing an excuse and excuse-required states, at 26% and 19% respectively. Of the Top 10 highest-performing states, seven were full vote-at-home states. Meanwhile, in the bottom 10 states, seven require voters to have an excuse (e.g. seniors or voters with disabilities) to vote from home. Fewer than one in five registered voters participated in those elections. 

The evidence is clear: vote-at-home policies promote greater voter participation thanks to easy, safe, and convenient access to mailed-out ballots.

Massachusetts voters solidly embrace mail balloting

Gloucester Daily Times – Massachusetts voters are clearly still enthusiastic about voting through the mail. Nearly 529,000 ballots were cast by mail or dropped off at city and town halls before polls closed at 8 p.m. Tuesday, according to the Secretary of State’s office.

Illinois voters may opt to vote-by-mail in all elections

NBC Illinois – Elections officials are sending applications for permanent permission to vote by mail to each of the state’s 8 million registered voters. No one is obligated to sign up. But for as long as they stay at the same address, those who do will receive ballots they can complete at home and put in the mail for all future elections.

Debate Over: Vote by Mail Boosts Turnout

Washington Monthly – It is increasingly clear that vote by mail boosts election participation and that whichever party does the most to convince its voters to utilize mail ballots will have an edge in November.