When it comes to absentee voting, Michigan allows for hype – and tens of thousands of residents can do just that.
Michigan, which goes to the polls on Tuesday, allows residents who have submitted an absentee to change their vote – known as "spoiling" a vote.
According to the rules, these voters can change their vote for any reason – although a common reason for this is to change the vote of a candidate who left the race to one who is still in the race.
The unusual rule could be used frequently this year in Michigan, as several candidates have left the Democratic presidential race in the primaries in the past few days.
Pete Buttigieggave up his offer last Sundaywhile Amy Klobuchar left the next day. Both endorsed former Joe Biden on Monday. Mike Bloomberg ended his campaign on Wednesday and also supported Biden. Elizabeth Warren gave up on the race Thursday even though she made no endorsement.
According to the Michigan Secretary of State's office, 24,109 absent votes – cast in both party primaries (the Democratic and Republican parties are holding a primary election on Tuesday) – were spoiled after 2 pm. Friday. That number is rising rapidly, election officials said.
At exactly the same point in 2016, 3,094 absentee ballots – launched in the Democratic and Republican Party primaries – were damaged.
The number of absentee ballots – requested, sent and returned – is higher this year, due to a constitutional amendment by the state of "no excuse ballot" approved by Michigan voters in 2018 that allowed voters to vote for any reason. Previously, Michigan voters, who wanted to vote, had to provide a reason for wanting to vote.
So far in 2020, the office has sent 924,340 absent votes to the state's Democratic and Republican primary elections. Of these, 599,644 were returned.
Under Michigan's electoral rules, these exits mean that absent voters in the state who have already voted for any of these candidates can "spoil" the vote – and vote again.
"If a voter has already voted absent and wishes to change his vote (because the candidate has withdrawn from the race or for any other reason), he can screw up his ballot by sending a written request to the city or county secretary," The Secretary of State's office of Michigan, which manages state elections, says on its website.
According to the rules, an absentee voter can request that his absent ballot be spoiled and indicate whether he wants a new ballot to be sent to them or whether he will vote on Tuesday's polls.
Absent voters can also personally spoil their ballots at their city or county office before 4 pm on the Monday before the election. At the secretary's office, the absentee voter can obtain a new absentee ballot or declare that he will vote at the ballot box. If the voter chooses to take another absent vote, he must be received by 8 pm. on election day.
The fact that voters could change their choice could favor Biden. The state's most recent survey – one released Wednesday by Detroit News and WDIV-TV– showed Biden leading Bernie Sanders from 29% to 23%.
Bloomberg obtained 11%, Warren, 7%, Buttigieg, 6% and Klobuchar, 3%.
Supporters of Bloomberg and Klobuchar – who, like Biden, ran as moderates – are likely to support the former vice president.
Buttigieg and Warren's supporters, however, are divided. Recent searches of Morning Consult he found his supporters divided almost evenly in his second choices, between Sanders and Biden. Other Morning Consult This week's survey found that Warren's supporters leaned towards Sanders as their second choice on Biden, but not much.
As a result, Biden would certainly increase his leadership over Sanders by receiving supporters from all four new ex-candidates. Sanders would benefit only – and only in part – from Warren's departure.
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