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Politics

Secretary of State announces no reason absentee voting and election reform committee

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Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced on Thursday that voters can now use mail-in ballots for no reason.

Previously state voters could only use absentee ballots for a few reasons, such as being over 60 or out of town.

Benson said those requirements were an added administrative burden that was unnecessary and unneeded.

“We hope it’ll increase voter turnout, that’s certainly a central goal of my administration, but in other states what it really does is reduce wait times on election day.”

The move is part of Benson’s commitment to implementing Proposal 3 - a voter-initiated ballot measure that was passed in November - aimed at making voter participation easier in Michigan.

To that end, Benson has also created an election reform committee aimed at developing further election reforms in Michigan.

Benson said the committee will be made up of clerks, voting rights advocates, and national experts.

“After a round of hearings and other meetings we’ll get a proposal, we’ll have recommendations from the committee on what we need to do to improve our elections here in Michigan and how we get there.”

Benson said the committee will hold hearings across the state to hear recommendations from locals on how best to implement reforms in different areas.