In the upcoming 2024 Michigan elections, a monumental shift is on the horizon and it has the potential to transform the way voters participate in the democratic process through Proposal 2. A measure that was successfully passed by voters in 2022, expanding voting rights and introducing in-person early voting to the state for the first time.
Proposal 2 Enables Washtenaw County to Launch Network of Early Voting Sites
The impact of Proposal 2 is being felt throughout the state and Washtenaw County is gearing up for significant changes. Washtenaw County Chief Deputy Clerk and Elections Director, Ed Golembiewski, describes Proposal 2 as “the biggest change that Michigan has seen in many, many years.”
According to MLive, the Proposal 2 amendment paves the way for a trial run of in-person early voting during at least a nine-day period before election day, starting with the upcoming 2024 presidential election.
To implement early voting efficiently, the county plans to establish a network of regional early voting centers, primarily in public buildings located at centralized points within each respective region as stipulated in Proposal 2.
For the majority of the county’s municipalities, this entails collaboration with the county to offer convenient early voting options to residents. Ed Golembiewski explains that the goal is to keep communities together, ensuring accessibility for all voters.
The county will set up a centralized early voting location at the Washtenaw County Learning Resource Center, offering an additional option for voters outside Milan and Ann Arbor, which have their own early voting programs.
The motivation behind these initiatives is to make early voting as convenient as possible for voters. With overwhelming support for Proposal 2, authorities aim to avoid a one-size-fits-all approach and create accessible voting opportunities both close to where people live and in areas they frequent for work or business.
Washtenaw County is planning an extensive communications campaign to inform voters about these changes and will provide updates on its elections website. Voters will also receive notifications by mail about their early voting options.
Effect of Proposal 2 on the Michigan 2024 Election
Officials, like Ed Golembiewski, believe that Proposal 2 will be one of the most transformative moments of their careers, bringing the right to early voting to the forefront of democracy in the state.
The introduction of early voting through Proposal 2 is expected to streamline the counting process and expedite the reporting of results. By pre-processing ballots in advance, officials can manage the surge in absentee voting, which has caused delays in previous elections.
Ed Golembiewski emphasizes that election results will still be published only after the polls close, as required by law.
Beyond the early voting changes, other election-related modifications are taking effect, such as the option for voters to sign up to permanently receive absentee ballots in future elections.
Military and overseas voters now have more time to return absentee ballots, providing them with greater flexibility in casting their votes as stipulated in Proposal 2.
With the presidential primary set to be moved up to February 27, 2024, pending the advancement of proposed legislation, the countywide early voting partnership will be in place for all elections, extending beyond state and federal races.