Dear Editor,

With Proposition 2 passing in 2022 and a new legislature that took over in 2023, voting will look very different in 2024. Prop 2 codified some existing laws into the constitution and new laws have since been passed by the legislature. All of these actions make it more accessible, and convenient for voters and assuring our elections are more secure.

Highlights of new legislation are:

• Early Voting: Voters will now be able to vote and have their vote counted at least 9 days before election day. Early Voting Sites (EVS) have been established and some townships and cities will be working together to accomplish this. Voters should check out mi.gov/vote to locate their EVS and dates and times they will be open.

• Permanent Mail Ballot List: Voters can now sign up to receive a ballot for every election (prior to this, voters could get an application for every election-this now allows them to get a ballot).

• Absentee Ballot Improvements:

• Postage for returning absentee ballot applications and ballots will be paid for.

• There will be an enhanced tracking system so voters can track both their application and/or ballot.

• Voters will be informed if there are any issues with their ballot or application and will be told how it can be fixed.

• Each jurisdiction is required to have at least 1 drop box for applications and ballots. Large jurisdictions must have 1 drop box for every 15,000 voters. The drop box must be open 40 days before the election up to 8 p.m. election day.

• Military & Overseas Ballots: are considered timely if postmarked by election day and received by clerk’s office within 6 days of the election

• Voter ID: in addition to the original photo IDs allowed, voters can now use educational institutions and local government IDs. If voters do not have a photo ID or do not have it with them when voting, they may sign an Affidavit of Identity and have their vote count.

• Election Integrity: there are new rules as to how post-election audits are to be conducted and the certification role of the Board of Canvassers. There cannot be political party involvement in audits and the Board of Canvassers must certify the election results based on the ballots cast.

•Election Interference: there will now be criminal penalties for intimidating election officials or preventing them from performing their duties.

• Michigan will come into compliance with the Federal Electoral Count Reform Act (passed by the Congress and signed by the President in December 2022).

• Use of Artificial Intelligence: AI is defined and any political advertisements that use AI must include a statement notifying voters.

• Paid transportation to the polls will now be allowed.

• Communities that have previously had 500+ citizens register and vote on election day, will be allowed to set up Election Day Vote Centers

• Polling Places: due to changes in polling place sizes, some polling locations may see changes.

The League of Women Voters of the Flint Area (serving Genesee, Lapeer & Tuscola Counties) is conducting informational meetings to help voters understand all the new rules. Two Town Halls are currently scheduled in Lapeer County on:

• Tuesday, January 30, 11:45, Imlay City Senior Center

• Monday, February 12, 10:30, Lapeer Senior Center

These events are open to all members of the community and we encourage voters to attend.

Contact the League at LWVFlintArea@ gmail.com or call the President at 810-664-7603 with any questions.

It’s important that all voters are informed as we begin a busy election year. The Presidential Primary is the first election of 2024, and February 27 will be here before we know it!

— Jan Watz, President
League of Women Voters of the
Flint Area