Kalamazoo sees ‘significant increase’ in absentee voters

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) -– The city clerk’s office in Kalamazoo has seen a “significant increase” in absentee ballot requests this year when compared to the 2012 election.

Kalamazoo City Clerk Scott Borling said his office issued 5,700 absentee ballots so far this year. That’s an increase from roughly 4,700 ballot issued in 2012, and there’s still more time left in this election.

They’ve already received 4,400 of those absentee ballots back.

Borling explained that one of the reasons for the increase may be the city’s permanent absent voter list which automatically sends absentee ballots to people on the list.

The permanent absent voter list consists of those who live in Kalamazoo who may not otherwise make it to the polls to vote due to their age or a disability.

Borling said it’s been a number of years since the city mailed out sign-up information for that permanent list, so they mailed out post cards for sign-up this year and saw an “overwhelming response.”

There’s been a number of new developments on the campaign trail and though thousands of votes were already submitted in Kalamazoo and other cities, Borling said absentee voters can still change their ballots.

“If they’ve already sent in their ballots, they can come to our office here. We can spoil their first ballot – the ballot they voted – and that won’t be counted. We’ll re-issue them a new ballot, they’ll have to vote that new ballot and that’s the one that will be counted,” said Borling.

Michigan is one of less than 10 states that allows voters to change their ballots up until the day before Election Day.

The Kalamazoo City Clerk’s Office has offered extended hours the last two weeks, and they’ll also be open on Saturday.

For more details on the absentee voting hours in Kalamazoo, click here.