By Carol Stiffler

Michigan voters can cast ballots in the February primary election as early as nine days before election day, which is February 27. The option for early voting in statewide and federal elections is the result of a 2022 ballot measure that amended voting rights in Michigan’s constitution.

County clerks are required to offer at least nine days of early voting, beginning the second Saturday before the election and ending the Sunday before the election. Clerks can choose to allow early voting as many as 29 days prior to election, though counties in the Eastern Upper Peninsula have selected the nine-day minimum.

Each early voting location has been set up in a secure room manned by four people – two Republicans and two Democrats.

The procedure for early voting is the same as in-person voting on election day: voters must be registered, check in, acquire the right ballot for their precinct, and vote in a booth. Voters will receive “I voted” stickers like normal.

“It’s supposed to be as close to a regular voting experience in a precinct as you can get,” said Portage Township Clerk Pat MacLachlan.

Each night, the number of ballots processed will be totaled – though the individual votes won’t be counted until election day – and clerks will be notified which voters have already voted. After that, the voters won’t be able to void their ballot or make changes.

Absentee voters can still return their ballots to their clerks or election drop boxes like they normally would.

No matter when you cast your ballot, the individual votes aren’t tabulated until election day.

In Luce County, early voting has been set up inside the Luce County Government Building, 407 W. Harrie St., just inside the main entrance. Early voting in Luce County is available from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. beginning Saturday, February 17 through Sunday, February 25. Call (906) 293-8803 for more information.

In Mackinac County, early voting has been set up in the Mackinac County Courthouse Annex Board Room, 100 S. Marley, St. Ignace, and is available from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. beginning Saturday, February 17 and ending Sunday, February 25. Call (906) 643-7300 for more information.

In Schoolcraft County, early voting will be held in the Youth Center Building, 190 N. Maple, Manistique. Voting is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, February 17 through Sunday, February 25. Call (906) 341-2290 for more information.

In Chippewa County, early voting information was not available at press time.