The victor of the 2020 presidential election won’t be known on Election Night. Postal ballots (both “mail-in” and “absentee”) and in-person votes, early voting mean that many states will have a backlog of uncounted ballots on Election Day, placing additional strain on state election systems that are already under unprecedented stress.
Swing states have always been the king-makers in presidential elections—”president-makers,” I should say. But, this time around, greater skepticism of the election’s integrity puts more pressure on the swing states’ election processes.
For an explanation about the difference between mail-in and absentee ballots, check out this piece here by Ben Wilson: The Difference Between Absentee and Mail-In Ballots.
The state, which President Donald Trump won in 2016 with a microscopic 0.3% margin, currently leans toward his Democratic opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, according to FiveThirtyEight. Michigan is a must-win state for President Trump if he is to get a second term, so a lot’s riding on the Wolverine State.
Back in 2018, Michigan passed a law which allowed its voters to request an absentee ballot for any reason, expanding the amount of voters who qualify for ballots of this sort.
Under another state law, ballots received by clerks after 8 pm on Election Day will not be counted. While the Supreme Court recently ruled that ballots received up through November 6 in Pennsylvania are allowed to be counted, a Michigan appeals court on Friday upheld the state’s current law. As of right now, it is uncertain if this ruling will be appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court.
In September, however, Michigan lawmakers passed a law that permits election clerks to open and sort—but not count—ballots on November 2 for 10 hours before the start of Election Day at midnight. This will save election officials some time on November 3 when they then have to also count all the in-person ballots from that day.
Of the more-than-three million absentee ballots requested this election, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, the state’s chief election official, said on Tuesday that 1.5 million have already been submitted, The Detroit Free Press reported.
Even though Michiganders are still able to request absentee ballots, Benson has urged those who have still not requested one to request one in-person from their clerk’s office instead as well as to deliver their ballot in person to the clerk or a designated dropbox. This is to take some of the burden off of the U.S. Postal Service, which has been facing its own set of problems nationwide.
As for when she predicts the results will be released, Benson, according to Politico, said earlier this month: “We still expect that will be the Friday of that week … that we can expect every ballot will be tabulated. Now it may be sooner, but we want to manage those expectations.”
Given the information presented, Michigan’s full election results most likely won’t be known on Election Night. Most of its results should be published within the week after Election Day, probably November 6 (Friday) at the earliest, as Sec. Benson approximated.
Nonetheless, in the year 2020, anything could go haywire—nothing is certain.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.
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New York City Dems Push Law to Allow 800,000 Non-Citizens to Vote in Municipal Elections
The New York City Council will vote on December 9 on a law to allow green-card holders and residents with work permits to vote in municipal elections
New York’s Democratic party is battling over the constitutionality of voter laws. On December 9, the New York City Council will vote on a law to allow green-card holders and residents with work permits to vote in municipal elections.
“Around 808,000 New York City residents who have work permits or are lawful permanent residents would be eligible to vote under the legislation, which has the support of 34 of 51 council members, a veto-proof majority” reports Fox News.
“It’s important for the Democratic Party to look at New York City and see that when voting rights are being attacked, we are expanding voter participation,” Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, a sponsor of the bill and Democrat who represents the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan, told the New York Times. Rodriguez immigrated from the Dominican Republic and became a U.S. citizen in 2000.
Laura Wood, Chief Democracy Officer for the mayor’s office, said at a hearing on the bill in September that the law could violate the New York State Constitution, which states that voters must be U.S. citizens age 18 or older.
Mayor Bill de Blasio indicated he could veto the bill following the September hearing.
“We’ve done everything that we could possibly get our hands on to help immigrant New Yorkers—including undocumented folks—but…I don’t believe it is legal,” de Blasio told WNYC radio at the time.
Mayor-elect Eric Adams, however, submitted testimony to the September hearing in favor of the bill. “In a democracy, nothing is more fundamental than the right to vote and to say who represents you and your community in elected office…Currently, almost one million New Yorkers are denied this foundational right.”
The legislation was first introduced two years ago, but had not yet gained traction due to the legal concerns.
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