Absentee voters can vote again if favorite candidate is out

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DETROIT — It's not too late: Voters who used an absentee ballot for Michigan's March 10 presidential primary election can change their preference and start over.

At least 10 Democratic candidates and two Republicans have dropped out since Michigan ballots were printed, including U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Pete Buttigieg, a former South Bend, Indiana, mayor, and businessmen Tom Steyer and Andrew Yang.

Absentee voting in Michigan is up substantially now that voters can cast an absentee ballot for any reason.

By Monday morning, nearly 3,900 absentee ballots had been scratched, a small percentage of the 812,000 ballots that have been issued statewide, according to the secretary of state's office.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, both Democrats, used Twitter to inform people that a second try at an absentee ballot is possible.

"They have many options," said Barb Byrum, the clerk in Ingham County.

"A candidate dropping out is not the only reason for spoiling your ballot," she said. "You can spoil your ballot for no reason. Maybe your candidate said something to change your mind."

A voter can scratch their absentee ballot by submitting a written request to their local clerk. The voter must sign the request and state if they would like a new ballot mailed to them or if they will vote at the polls.

This request must be received by 2 p.m. Saturday if sent by mail. An absentee ballot may be thrown out in person at the clerk's office until 4 p.m. next Monday.

"We're expecting an uptick," said Dearborn City Clerk George Darany, who advises people to visit city hall rather than rely on the mail just days from the election.

Distance is the problem for voter Allison Baker of Grosse Pointe Park. She's hundreds of miles away in South Carolina and doubts she can strike her first ballot and cast a new one by mail in time.

"I'm one of the unlucky absentee voters that sent my ballot back too quickly. … I would definitely transfer my vote to Biden from Buttigieg," Baker said, referring to former Vice President Joe Biden. "I just hope any delegates Buttigieg gets can fold into the Biden camp."

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