Correction: This story has been updated to correct the time period for the growth in Michigan absentee ballots.
Michigan’s absentee voters are expected to begin receiving their ballots in the mail Monday, just before the presidential contenders square off in their first televised debate.
Early voting effectively begins this week in Michigan. Absentee ballots went out in the mail Saturday to largely older voters who have already completed an application to get a ballot up to seven weeks before the Nov. 8 election.
Registered voters have until 2 p.m. Nov. 5, the Saturday before Election Day, to get a request for an absentee ballot to their clerk, who in turn will mail one to eligible voters. Ballots must be returned to the local clerk by 8 p.m. on Nov. 8, Election Day.
Absentee voting represents a growing segment of the ballots cast in the state’s elections, despite being restricted to individuals who are disabled, over age 60 or plan to be out of town on Election Day. In the 2014 gubernatorial mid-term election, 809,697 absentee ballots were cast, a nearly 19 percent increase from the 2010 gubernatorial election.
In recent weeks, the campaigns of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump have ramped up their voter outreach efforts, targeting routine absentee voters in their respective parties first as they seek to consolidate their bases.
How to get ballot
Registered voters can apply for an absentee ballot through their city or township clerk if they are:
■Age 60 years old or older.
■Unable to vote without assistance at the polls.
■Expect to be out of town on Nov. 8.
■Are in jail awaiting arraignment or trial.
■Unable to go to the polls on Election Day due to religious reasons.
■Working as an election inspector outside of their precinct of residence.
Voters can search for their local clerk’s contact information online at www.Michigan.gov/vote.
Requests for getting an absent voter ballot mailed to you must be received by a voter’s clerk no later than 2 p.m. Nov. 5, the Saturday before the election.
Ballots must be returned to the local clerk by 8 p.m. on Election Day.
Source: Michigan Secretary of State’s Office