Proposal 2 was passed during the statewide midterms in Nov. 2022, giving voters the opportunity to vote early in every statewide and federal election. Within the coming days for the November local elections, Lansing will be testing out the early voting pilot, starting on Oct. 26, which is National Early Voting Day.
The first election that early voting will be constitutionally required is the 2024 presidential election.
Lansing city clerk Chris Swope said voting early opens up the option for voters to feel security when casting their vote. Another bonus Swope talked about was voters being able to do it at a time that is most convenient to them.
“I didn’t want to head into the presidential primary without any track record under my belt," Swope said on why Lansing decided to pilot the system.
A goal Swope spoke about was to not have voters waiting in line on election day, but rather seeing people take advantage of the nine days in place for early voting.
Early voting precinct worker Crystal Johnson said she believes it will allow more access to the voting process.
Precinct worker Velvely Douglas said that this process is also going to allow people to come out more to vote.
“It gives everybody the chance to vote," precinct worker Janet Glisson said. "There's no excuse that you have to work or you’re out of town.”
Johnson said adding in early voting will make her job easier overall. She said starting a new process is a little daunting but after learning the ropes, it is sure to be "smooth sailing."
For security reasons, there are a lot more steps to running the early voting ballots than on election day.
Glisson said that her job is harder at the moment because of the amount of training and getting comfortable with a new system, but she said by next November it will be really easy.
Johnson said she was surprised at the amount of training that she is undergoing for early voting because she didn’t understand that the two systems weren’t connected, needing to add new voting machines with the process of early voting.
However, Johnson predicts that early voting will help clear up some of the congestion at the polls during the presidential election.
Johnson said there is a lengthy process the precinct workers take to keep ballots secure. She finds these extra days of voting as a layer of protection to spread out the amount of votes coming in.
"There’s less chance (of) people actually trying to manipulate the system," Johnson said.
Early voting allows for voting between the Saturday before election day all the way through Sunday before the election for at least eight hours a day.
"You can't complain if you don't vote," Glisson said.
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