Absentee ballots must be returned by Tuesday at 8:00 p.m., and there's still time to get an absentee ballot. But with just days to go before the election, the U.S. Mail is no longer part of the equation.
If you have an absentee ballot and have not yet returned it, the U.S. Mail is no longer an option with such little time left before the election. You must return it in person to the Dearborn Administrative Center, 16901 Michigan Ave., either at the City Clerk's Office during business hours, or anytime in the ballot drop box across from the Dearborn Administrative Center's main entrance.
If you will be unable to vote in person at your polling place on Tuesday, you can still vote by absentee ballot, right at the City Clerk's Office, up until 4:00 p.m. on Monday, November 1. The clerk's office will be open Saturday, October 30 from 7 a.m.-3 p.m. for election purposes only.
If you have an absentee ballot and want to instead vote in person at your neighborhood polling place, you can take your absentee ballot to the school and surrender it to election officials, who then would provide you with a new ballot.
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How you can vote by absentee ballot
Voting in this historic 2021 election for Mayor of Dearborn and other city offices is officially underway as of September 18, with the mailing of thousands of absentee ballots by City Clerk George Darany's office.
Early voting by absentee ballot begins at the Clerk's Office Monday, September 20, when any voter can obtain an absentee ballot in person and vote right then and there (or take it home to return later), during regular business hours. Voters can cast absentee ballots in this in-person manner until 4 p.m. on Monday, November 1. All Michigan voters are eligible to vote by absentee ballot.
Voters who have already applied for an absentee ballot, including those who earlier requested a ballot for both the August 3 primary and November 2 general elections, will receive their ballot in the mail.
Others who wish to vote by absentee ballot will find the process to be simple. Here's how Dearborn residents can vote from home:
1. Fill out an application.
You can avoid handling a paper application and using the mail by applying for a ballot directly online through the Michigan Secretary of State by clicking here.
If you prefer to use a paper application, you can obtain one at the City Clerk's Office at the Dearborn Administrative Center, you can call the clerk's office at 943-2010 to ask to have an application mailed to you, OR you can download and print an application right now by clicking here.
2. Submit the application.
You can mail your completed and signed application to:
Dearborn Administrative Center
City Clerk George Darany
16901 Michigan Avenue
Dearborn, MI 48126
You can also place your application in the drop box outside the main entrance to the Dearborn Administrative Center, or turn it in at the Clerk’s Office counter inside the Dearborn Administrative Center. Once we get into the middle of October, the drop box might be a better option than using the U.S. mail for submitting your application.
3. Your ballot will be mailed to you. You can see on which day your ballot is mailed by entering your information at the "Your Voter Information" page on the state's Michigan Voter Information Center website by clicking here. If you turn in the application in person at the City Clerk's Office, you will be given a ballot that you can fill out right then and return it immediately, or you can take it home and return it later.
4. Return your completed ballot. This part is VERY IMPORTANT: Make sure you follow the instructions, including signing the return envelope that’s provided, and then mail it back to the clerk’s office. Or, you can drop it off in person, by 8 p.m. on election day. (Only you, a family member or a person living in your house can return your ballot if you don’t mail it.) And don't forget the drop box at the Dearborn Administrative Center, another sure and secure way to return your ballot. After your ballot is received and scanned in by the clerk's office, you can verify that it has been received by again using the Michigan Voter Information Center, by clicking here.
That’s it. Simple.
A few extra points about absentee voting
This can't be stressed enough: Follow the instructions carefully. If you don't sign the outside of your return envelope, or use your secrecy sleeve when putting your ballot into the return envelope, your vote will not be counted.
There is a check box on the application that will ask if you want to be placed on Clerk Darany’s “permanent absentee voter list.” Voters on that list will be mailed an application before each election, every year. It doesn’t mean you have to vote by absentee ballot every year, you can disregard the application as you see fit and just go vote at your school, but you will get an application (which is a good reminder about an upcoming election) for every election.
If you have mailed an application but haven’t received your ballot by a week before the election, call the clerk’s office.
If you return the ballot by mail, put it in the mail no later than a week before the election so it gets to the clerk’s office in time. It doesn’t matter when it is postmarked, the ballot has to physically arrive in the clerk’s office by 8 p.m. on election day, or it won’t be counted.
Even if you get an absentee ballot, you can still change your mind and vote in person at your local school or polling place by taking your unfilled absentee ballot to surrender at the in-person voting location. You can even actually change your vote after you mail in your absentee ballot, as long as you go to the Clerk’s Office by the day before the election.
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