Clerks in the state’s largest cities will be given 10 additional hours to sort absentee ballots ahead of the count and also be allowed to work in shifts after many had to work all night during the August primaries.
Workers will be required to follow up with any voters whose ballot has issues with the signature on the outside. Drop boxes must be put under video surveillance.
The bill, which was passed the same day as absentee voting began in the state, is expected to be signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer after sailing through Michigan’s Republican-controlled House and Senate.
The vote passed the House by a measure of 94 to 11 after clearing the Senate by a tally of 34 to 2.
Once signed, the new law will give clerks the ability to open the outer absentee ballot envelopes, but not the secrecy envelopes, and sort from them from 10 a.m. ET to 8 p.m. ET on Nov. 2, the day before the election. Absentee ballots cannot be counted until Election Day.
Cities that intend to use the extra time, which applies to those with 25,000 people or more, must alert the state at least 20 days in advance. The bill’s passage comes as states are gearing up for what many are speculating will be a hotly contested election where the winner is not known for potentially weeks after the vote.
Biden currently leads Trump in Michigan by 5.2 points, according to an average of polls compiled by Real Clear Politics, just outside the margin of error.
Trump won the state in 2016 by 0.3 points after the polls showed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with a 3.4-point lead going into Election Day.