Absentee Voters Can Have a Do-Over if their Candidate Drops Out, Here’s How…

Absentee Voters Can Have a Do-Over if their Candidate Drops Out, Here’s How…

(Crystal A. Proxmire, March 3, 2020)

Oakland County, MI – As Presidential candidates bow out, as Pete Buttigieg did Sunday night, voters may be left wondering if they can chose another candidate even if they have cast their absentee ballot already. The answer is yes.

Ferndale City Clerk Marne McGrath is working to get the word out about the ability to re-cast a vote.

“I’ve had a few people ask me over the weekend ‘what happens with my AV ballot if my candidate drops out?’ You can contact us to spoil your ballot and we’ll send you a new one,” McGrath shared on social media.  “Election law now requires that spoiled ballot replacements are submitted in writing, but no worries – you can email us your request, drop your request at City Hall, or even mail it (although time is getting short and we recommend one of the other methods). You don’t have to submit your AV ballot until 8pm on Election Day so if you want to wait till the Super Tuesday results are in, no problem. We’ve got you.”

Absentee voting has increased this year thanks to a no reason absentee ballot effort last year.  In Ferndale the clerk says she’s issued issued 1,935 AV ballots and so far 851 have been returned. “We are seeing an increase in AV voters. I expect we’ll end up issuing at least double what we did in 2016 when we issued a total of 1,075 AV ballots and received 999 back,” McGrath said.

Local advocates for ranked choice voting argue that this process could be simplified by implementing a system where voters rank their preferred candidates.  Ferndale Councilperson and RCV advocate Kat Bruner James said “Under that system, if their first choice candidate drops out, their vote automatically transfers to their top-ranked choice who is still in the race. Advocates argue that this would same time and resources that are currently spent spoiling and reissuing ballots. Alaska, Hawaii, Kansas, and Wyoming already use ranked choice voting in their presidential primaries.”

Voters should look up their local Clerk’s office and contact them for how best to submit a replacement request.


March 10 is the Presidential Primary in Michigan.  Voters will have their say in the Democratic and Republican primaries, plus several communities have issues on the ballot, in addition to a county-wide vote on Detroit Institute of Arts funding.

Voters will be asked if they want a Republican ballot, Democratic ballot, or Nonpartisan ballot which only has the local issue(s).

On the Republican Presidential ballot, voters will find the following candidates. Those with a line have dropped out of the race, but will still appear on the ballot:

Donald J. Trump (Incumbent)

Bill Weld

Joe Walsh

Mark Sanford

On the Democratic ballot the candidates are listed below.  Those with a line have dropped out of the race, but will still appear on the ballot:

Michael Bennett

Joe Biden

Michael R. Bloomberg

Cory Booker

Pete Buttigieg

Julián Castro

John Delaney

Tulsi Gabbard

Amy Klobuchar

Bernie Sanders

Joe Sestak

Tom Steyer

Elizabeth Warren

Marianne Williamson

Andrew Yang


Voters throughout Oakland County will be asked on the March 10 Primary ballot if they would like to renew funding of the Detroit Institute of Arts. Ballot language is as follows:

In 2012 the electors of Oakland County approved a 10-year millage to provide County residents with services from the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) through the Oakland County Art Institute Authority.

As a result of the millage, the DIA provides Oakland County residents with free K-12 school field trips including free transportation, free senior group programming with free transportation, and unlimited free general admission.

To ensure transparency, the DIA submits to an annual independent audit and posts financial reports online.

To continue to provide revenue to the DIA, which will allow these DIA services for the residents of the County to continue, the Art Institute Authority is permitted by law to seek a renewal of the millage at a rate of no more than the current 0.2 mill (20 cents per $1,000 taxable value) on all real and personal property in the County.

Revenue from this millage will be disbursed to the Art Institute Authority and then transferred to the DIA as permitted by and for the purposes set forth in Public Act 296 of 2010. It is estimated that if approved and levied, this millage renewal would generate approximately $13,600,000 in 2022.

Do you approve the renewal of the 0.2 mill on all taxable property located within the County for a period of 10 years from 2022 through 2031?


Huntington Woods

Bloomfield Township

Birmingham Schools

Brandon Schools

Clarkston Schools

Farmington Schools

Ferndale Schools

Pontiac Schools

Southfield Schools

Mott Community College

Macomb Intermediate

2020 Election Resources:

Oakland County Times 2020 Election Section

Oakland County Clerk


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