Officials anticipate increase in absentee voting

BALDWIN -- With Michigan's no-reason absentee ballot law, known as Prop 3, going into effect this year, elections officials anticipate a continued increase in absentee voters leading up to the March presidential primary.

Lake County Register of Deeds/Clerk Patti Pacola said her office has not seen an increase in absentee ballot requests so far, but that may change as the presidential election gets closer.

"So far, we are averaging about the same as last year with respect to absentee voters," Pacola said. "This is new to voters, so we will probably see a gradual increase. We don't, however, expect to see a large increase for the 2020 presidential election."

Pacola said the clerk's office is taking steps to inform the public of the availability of absentee voting with posts on the register of deeds' Facebook page, and as the election gets closer, they will begin a public information campaign.

"We plan to set up a remote office this summer to help educate the public," she said. "We will answer questions about absentee voting, ballots and poling places, and we will direct them to the proper websites for additional information."

Prior to the passage of Prop 3, anyone wanting an absentee ballot had to explain why they could not go to the polls on election day. With the new law, all eligible and registered voters may request an absentee ballot without providing a reason.

Requests may be submitted in writing to your city or township clerk and must include an application. Written requests must be received by 5 p.m. the Friday before the election.

If you are already registered at your current address, you can request an absentee ballot in person up to 4 p.m. on the day prior to the election.

Absentee voters have until 8 p.m. on election day to return their ballot to the clerk's office.

Absentee voting is available for all elections.

For more information on voter registration, polling places, issues appearing on ballots, absentee voting and more, visit