Relatively few voters in the City of Kalamazoo have asked for new absentee ballots as candidates have dropped out of the Democratic presidential primary race.
As of Thursday, March 5, City Clerk Scott Borling says only 85 people have asked that their absentee ballots be "spoiled" so they can vote again. He says that is a small fraction of the number of absentee ballots requested.
"You know, out of 5,000, that doesn't seem like a whole lot but we don't get many spoiled and replacement ballots being requested at all."
People who do want to change their advance primary vote have until Saturday, March 7, to request a new absentee ballot by mail. They can also do so in person at local city and township clerk offices no later than 4 p.m. on Monday, March 9.
Borling says about 3,100 absentee ballots have been returned to his office so far. The number of ballots requested this year is up significantly compared to similar elections in the past. But borling says it is lower than the number of absentee ballots in the 2016 presidential election.
Statewide, the number of people asking for absentee ballots has jumped 80-percent after Michigan approved no-reason absentee voting in 2018. That's led to concerns about major delays in announcing the results of Michigan's presidential primaery March 10. Current state law doesn't allow absentee ballots to be processed until 7 a.m. Election Day. But Borling says he doesn't think counting the extra absentee ballots will be a big problem for his office.
"We're pretty confident that we'll be able to get those ballots processed in a timely fashion. I do think that it will be a challenge in some locations in the state that see two or three times as many absentee ballots as we have here in the city."