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4 dead as severe storms hit Houston, TX; Election Protection Program eases access to voting information; surge in solar installations eases energy costs for Missourians; IN makes a splash for Safe Boating Week.

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The Supreme Court rules funding for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is okay, election deniers hold key voting oversight positions in swing states, and North Carolina lawmakers vote to ban people from wearing masks in public.

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Americans are buying up rubber ducks ahead of Memorial Day, Nebraskans who want residential solar have a new lifeline, seven community colleges are working to provide students with a better experience, and Mississippi's "Big Muddy" gets restoration help.

Michigan voting: Major changes enhance access for fall elections

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Tuesday, April 9, 2024   

Michigan's upcoming fall elections will highlight significant strides in voting accessibility. Recent measures, such as nine days of early voting and prepaid return postage for mail ballots, reflect a commitment to streamlining the voting experience in the state.

Khyla D. Craine, deputy legal director with the Michigan Department of State, said the shift underscores the state's proactive approach to enhance voter participation and ensure a smoother electoral process.

"A really big deal for Michiganders [is] that you can be placed on a permanent absentee-ballot list, and that is with your local township or city clerk's office. That would mean that, every election, you would receive an absentee ballot to complete," Craine said.

Craine added the Michigan primary for statewide offices will be held on Tuesday, August 6, and the General Election is Tuesday, November 5. She recommends confirming voting details online at michigan.gov/vote.

The Committee for Safe and Secure Elections is hosting several tabletop discussions to be better prepared for any out-of-the-ordinary instances that may occur. In previous elections, Michigan has seen bomb threats at polling locations and mysterious substances in ballot envelopes.

Tina Barton, a committee member and senior election expert with The Elections Group, said it's important to bring all stakeholders into the discussions.

"2020 brought about something that we had not really experienced in our careers up to this point. Election officials have become the enemy to individuals who are not seeing the process go as they would like or the outcome go as they would like," she said.

Barton added the discussions aim to establish protocols for chain of command, continuity of operations, crisis communication and coordination with law enforcement.


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