What happens if I voted for someone who dropped out of Michigan’s presidential primary?

By Malachi Barrett | mbarret1@mlive.com
Michigan residents have time to recast their absentee ballot if they already voted for a candidate who dropped out of the presidential primary since early voting began in late-January.

Michigan law gives voters who turned in an absentee ballot the option to “spoil” their ballot and obtain a new one, providing a second chance to pick a candidate who is still in the race. This can be done by submitting a request to a local clerk before election day on March 10.

Voters can submit a written request to their local clerk by mail by 2 p.m. on March 7, the Saturday before the primary. The request must specify whether the voter would like to receive a new absentee ballot or whether they will instead come in and vote at the polls on election day. The request must also be signed.

A voter can also request to spoil their voted absentee ballot in person at their clerk’s office until 4 p.m. on March 9. There is no option on Election Day to spoil an absentee ballot that has been received by the clerk.

This also applies to voters who filled out their absentee ballot but haven’t turned it in yet. Voters should destroy their spoiled ballot when asking for a new one.

Nearly 2,500 voters have “spoiled” their absentee ballot as of Feb. 21, according to the Michigan Secretary of State. That’s only 1% of the absentee ballots turned in so far.

Early voting is easier than ever thanks to new laws adopted by voters in 2018. All registered voters in Michigan can vote using an absentee ballot for any reason, but they need to request one from their local clerks first.