Due to voter approval of Proposal 3 in November 2018, Michigan voters can request no-excuse absentee ballots beginning on Thursday, February 21, 2019, for the election on May 7. No-excuse absentee voting, also known as no-reason absentee voting, allows any voter to cast an absentee ballot. Michigan is one of 28 states, along with Washington, D.C., that provides for no-excuse absentee voting.
Before voters approved Proposal 3, voters had to meet at least one of certain specific criteria to receive an absentee ballot, including (a) 60 years old or older; (b) unable to vote without assistance at the polls; (c) expected to be out-of-town on election day; (d) in jail awaiting arraignment or trial; (e) unable to attend the polls for religious reasons; or (f) appointed to work as an election inspector in a precinct outside of the inspector’s home precinct.
Proposal 3 was a ballot initiative that added straight-ticket voting, automatic voter registration, same-day voter registration, and no-excuse absentee voting to the Michigan Constitution. It was approved by 66.9 percent of voters. On February 20, 2019, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) announced that she was creating a 25-member committee to provide suggestions on implementing Proposal 3 and other changes to election policy.
Promote the Vote, a political action committee, led the campaign in support of Proposal 3. The ACLU of Michigan, the Michigan State Conference of the NAACP, and the League of Women Voters of Michigan launched the campaign. Promote the Vote raised $5.40 million, with 49 percent of total funds from the national ACLU. Protect My Vote formed to oppose the ballot initiative and received $3.36 million in contributions. The Michigan Freedom Fund was the largest donor to the opposition, contributing $3.06 million.