Michigan Judge rules absentee ballots delivered late but postmarked before election day must be counted

A judge has cleared the way for more absentee ballots to be counted in Michigan. Envelopes postmarked by the eve of the Nov. 3 election are eligible even if they show up days later.

Michigan is anticipating waves of absentee ballots this fall: about 2.3 million have already been requested.

Michigan law requires absentee ballots to be received by the time polls close on Election Day to be counted. Judge Cynthia Stephens said Friday that flexibility is crucial in 2020 because of the coronavirus and chronic mail delays.

Absentee ballot

Secretary Jocelyn Benson has lobbied for several changes to Michigan's absentee voting laws. In addition to requests to change the postmark law, Benson has also requested clerks have more time to process absentee ballots ahead of election day.

RELATED: Federal judge blocks Michigan's ban on transporting voters to polls

Earlier this week, the Michigan state Senate approved a bill that allows clerks to open mailing envelopes that contain sealed ballots and prepare them for tabulation before election day.

Separately, another judge blocked Michigan's longstanding ban on transporting voters to the polls.