KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Elections this year will see some changes as a result of Proposal 3, which was passed last fall.
It is the first November election where voters were able to pick up an absentee ballot for any reason and will be able to register to vote on Election Day.
Kalamazoo Deputy City Clerk Shelby Moss says she has seen a strong demand for absentee ballots.
“You don’t have to have a reason to have an absentee ballot, it’s just another form of voting for everyone.” Moss said.
Kalamazoo voters picked up 3,246 ballots by the 4 p.m. deadline Nov. 4.
In 2017, when the most similar recent election happened in the city, 2,002 people picked up an absentee ballot, which is an increase of about 38%.
Voters will have until 8 p.m. Tuesday, Election Day, to drop off their ballot at their local city or township clerk’s office.
Mark Gieschen recently moved to Kalamazoo from Portage and was able to register and submit his absentee ballot. He believes opening up absentee ballot rules is good for residents.
“It was certainly helpful to me, so I think it’s a good thing,” Gieschen said.
Kalamazoo County Clerk Tim Snow wants to make sure people who are not registered are prepared before they head to the polls.
“While we have same day registration, you cannot register in a precinct. You must go to the city or township hall in order (to register) to vote,” Snow said.
Snow says local municipalities across Kalamazoo County are reporting more interest in absentee ballots this year with about 15,500 given out.
Clerks say it will likely take years before they know the true impact of the changes.
“Each election will give us a better idea of hopefully what to expect in November next year,” Snow said.
To see what’s on the ballot and check your registration status, visit the Michigan Voter Information Center website.