Flint voters have blown past 2016 absentee voting numbers with three days to go before Tuesday’s election.

In the 2016 presidential election, 4,988 Flint residents returned their absentee ballots. So far in 2020, 16,489 have already voted – more than tripling the 2016 number.

And there’s still just over 5,000 absentee ballots that haven’t been returned yet – 21,553 Flint residents requested absentee ballots, compared to 5,806 in 2016.

“Michigan citizens are making their voices heard, confident that our elections will be an accurate reflection of the will of the people,” Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said. “Every valid absentee ballot will be counted by a pair of election workers – one from each major political party – trained to tally them without political bias.”

Benson has encouraged voters who haven’t returned their absentee ballots yet, or who still want to request one, to do so in person at their local clerk’s office due to delays in the United States Postal Service that could cause ballots that are mailed to arrive too late to be counted.  

The Flint City Clerk’s Office will be opened Saturday and Sunday this weekend from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to allow voters to request or return absentee ballots and to register to vote.

Voters have until 4 p.m. on Nov. 2 to apply for and receive their absentee ballot. Absentee ballots must be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day to be counted.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday for voters who wish to cast their ballot on Election Day.

Presidential campaigns have been paying attention to Flint in recent weeks.

Vice President Mike Pence held a rally in the city on Wednesday night, and former President Barack Obama is set to reunite with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden for a drive-in rally in Flint Oct. 31.

Biden’s running mate, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), visited several local businesses in September.

Statewide, more than 2.6 million Michigan voters have already returned their ballots – equating to nearly half of the state’s vote total in the 2008 presidential election, when Michigan had its highest turnout. In 2016, just 963,620 Michigan voters cast absentee ballots.

Michigan voters overwhelmingly approved an amendment to the state Constitution in 2018 that allows no-reason early voting and same-day voter registration.

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Andrew Roth

Andrew Roth is a reporter and photographer covering politics and policy in Michigan, as well technology, culture and their convergence. Andrew is a journalism student at Michigan State University and first...