Registered voters in the City of Kalamazoo will soon see an invitation to join the Permanent Absentee Ballot Request List in their mailbox. Voters on this list receive a date-specific absentee ballot request leading up to every election, allowing them to easily obtain and vote via absentee ballot. The postcard informs voters about the option to join this list and invites them to be added to the list by returning an attached response card. Of the approximately 54,400 registered voters in the City, 4,600 voters are currently on the Permanent Absentee Ballot Request List.
Prior to 2019 voters were required to declare a qualifying “reason” why they needed an absentee ballot. Changes to state law in 2019 now allow "no reason" absentee voting, which means all voters are eligible to vote absentee. Additional information is provided below:
Can you automatically mail me a ballot for each election?
- The City Clerk’s Office cannot automatically send ballots to voters. In order to issue an absentee ballot we must have a written request from the voter that is specific for that election.
What's it mean to be on the permanent absentee ballot request list?
- Being on the permanent request list means the City Clerk’s Office will send a date-specific absentee ballot request form to the voter prior to every election. In order to get a ballot, a voter on the permanent request list must sign and return the absentee ballot request form for that election.
If I am on the list or receive an absentee ballot do I have to vote absentee?
- Receiving an absentee ballot request form does not obligate the voter to cast an absentee ballot for that election. If a voter receives an absentee ballot request but doesn’t want to vote in that particular election or wants to vote in person on election day, they can throw the form away. If the voter does not return the request form there is no consequence to the voter’s registration status, their ability to vote in person on election day, their ability to request an absentee ballot for future elections, or their place on the permanent request list.
Do I have to register for the permanent absentee ballot request list?
- Being on the permanent request list is optional. Voters are not required to be on the permanent request list in order to be registered to vote or to get an absentee ballot. A voter who does not want to be on the permanent request list can still get an absentee ballot for a specific election.
How can I be added to the permanent absentee ballot request list?
- Voters must ask to be on the list. The City Clerk’s Office cannot put voters on the permanent list without a request from the voter.
How can I request to be added to the permanent absentee ballot request list?
- Voters can request to be on the permanent application list in writing or verbally, including over the phone.
Do I have to get an absentee ballot request form from the City of Kalamazoo?
- Voters who want an absentee ballot are not required to use the City’s form. The City’s form will have the voter’s information printed on it, which makes it easier for the voter. But there is a generic State of Michigan Absent Voter Ballot Application form on the Secretary of State’s website. Also, a voter can simply make their request in writing with their signature. They don’t need to use a form at all.
Does my permanent absentee ballot request status transfer between jurisdictions?
- Local clerks are not required to maintain a permanent request list. Because of this, the permanent request status does not transfer with the voter’s record from one jurisdiction to another. If a person was on the permanent request list in one jurisdiction and then they move, they will need to contact the clerk in their new jurisdiction and ask to be added to that clerk’s permanent request list.