City voters can now request an absentee ballot through their smartphones, an initiative called “historic” Tuesday by the Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Lon Johnson and City Clerk Janice Winfrey. Detroit will now begin accepting such absentee ballot requests. Similar efforts in about three other municipalities will be unveiled next week, Johnson said. These localities in Michigan will join Arizona, Florida, Maine, Maryland, Ohio, Illinois and some municipalities in California that allow absentee ballots to be requested online. Other states such as Alaska, Georgia and Wisconsin allow voters to make requests via email, Johnson said.
“This is historic. It’s never been done before in the state of Michigan,” Johnson said. “We look forward with working with Janice and other clerks shortly. This isn’t online registration. This isn’t online voting. This is allowing the voter to apply for an absentee ballot.”
Winfrey, who is launching the effort in Michigan, said the move is necessitated to increase voter participation by using tools familiar particularly to a younger generation.