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Important Information Regarding August and November 2020 elections and voting by mail/Absentee

by Alanna Crouch
Wednesday, May 20, 2020



Subject:          August 4, 2020, Primary and November 3, 2020, Election: Voting By Mail/Absent Voter Ballot


Contact:         Benjamin Marentette, City Clerk – 231-922-4480 (

Issued:             May 20, 2020

In November 2018, Michigan voters approved an amendment to the Michigan Constitution that provides the right for anyone to vote an absent voter ballot without any reason; you can vote this way simply for the convenience.

On May 20, 2020, the City Clerk’s Office for Traverse City is sending an absent voter ballot application for the upcoming August 4, 2020, Primary and the November 3, 2020, Presidential General Election to approximately 3,800 registered voters (those who have requested to receive one for each election) and the Michigan Secretary of State is sending an absent voter ballot application to all remaining registered voters in Traverse City.  All applications must be returned to the City Clerk’s Office. 

In order to receive an absent voter ballot, please complete the application (and indicate for which elections you’d like an absent voter ballot), and either return it by any of the following convenient options:

  1. Snap a photo of your completed absent voter ballot application and email it to  (we’ve updated the application to encourage this method of submission)!
  2. Mail it to:

City of Traverse City

c/o City Clerk

P.O. Box 592

Traverse City, MI 49685

3. Drop it in the utility payment drop box in the parking lot of the Governmental Center (near the one-way exit out of the parking lot)

City Clerk Benjamin Marentette is glad the Secretary of State’s Office is teaming up with his office to get an absent voter ballot application in the hands of each and every registered voter, “Every registered voter in Michigan who had an election on May 5, 2020, was sent an absent voter ballot and over 98% of those voting chose to vote using an absentee ballot.   My office was planning on sending an absentee ballot application to all registered voters as a way to provide a path to voting that doesn’t require visiting a polling place on election day, especially as we combat the coronavirus pandemic.  We’re glad for the assistance from the Secretary of State’s Office.   Voters in Michigan enshrined in the Constitution the right to vote an absent voter ballot for any reason or no reason at all, and we should do all we can to support that right.” 

For the May 5, 2020, election, the Governor of Michigan issued an Executive Order providing that all jurisdictions could have just one voting location because it was recommended that voters vote by mail/absentee if they’re so willing and avoid going to the polling places.  No such plans have been announced by either the Governor or Secretary of State; therefore, at this time, the City Clerk anticipates operating all polling locations in August and November and not consolidating precincts in order to avoid confusion by the electorate.

Voting by mail/absentee ballot is encouraged and is safe and secure.   Marentette notes, “Anyone wishing to vote absentee must complete an application and sign it; my team will verify that the signature matches our record and we will then mail an absent voter ballot.   When a voter returns their absentee ballot, they sign the envelope and my team will make sure the signature on the envelope matches the signature on our record.  If a signature doesn’t match, we will work to contact the voter and correct the issue. All absentee ballots returned by 8 p.m. on election day with verified signatures are tabulated by election inspectors working in the Governmental Center.” 

Anyone who doesn’t complete the absentee ballot application that they initially receive but later wishes to vote absentee is encouraged to contact the City Clerk’s Office for an application and we will be happy to provide you one. 

The City Clerk’s Office anticipates issuing ballots for the August 2020 election approximately June 26, 2020, and will ensure all military and overseas voters receive their ballots by the Federally-mandated deadline.    Ballots for the November 2020 election will likely be issued approximately September 25, 2020.