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Kent County Clerk expecting surge in absentee voting potentially delaying results

Lisa Posthumus Lyons photo

Absentee voting has been growing in popularity. Factor in Michigan voters enacting No-Reason Absentee Voting in November of 2018 and a pandemic in 2020 and Kent County’s Clerk, Lisa Posthumas Lyons tells WGVU she expects a surge in this primary’s absentee voting.

"Kent County has issued 127,000 absentee ballots. We have received back but 73,000. So, we're at a 57% return rate which is admittedly very down from the 90% return rate we usually see in absentee ballots returned. However, we are also as of the day, we're at about 15% total turnout for this election. Whereas in the 2018 primary in August, the final turnout was 28.5%. So, it remains to be seen what the final turnout will be, we’ll have to wait and see how many voters show up to the polls and how many of the absentee voters return their absentee ballot if they haven't already."

We asked what's her best guess?

"We expect and anticipate a 60 to 70% absentee voter participation. So, essentially between a 30 and 40% in-person on election day."

How long could it take for results to come in?

"Well again, with the increase in absentee voting this election we're asking our candidates, campaigns, the media and the public for patience when it comes to this. We count our ballots two different ways. The way we tabulate and report the in-person election day results those we will get very quickly on election night. So, we count and process absentee ballots very differently from that and so that's what's going to take a long time. We're going to have a lot of absentee ballots to count and so it's going to take a while. I expected us to get final results well into Wednesday. And anybody who has an absentee ballot that they have not returned, they must have the absentee ballot turned into their clerk’s office by 8 o'clock PM on election night to have that counted."

Kent County Clerk Lisa Posthumas Lyons, thank you so much.

"Thank you, Patrick take care."

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