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This is the first time in 35 years of voting that I'm casting an absentee ballot. My wife sounded the alarm last week, concerned that if one of us is exposed to someone with coronavirus, we could be forced to quarantine for 14 days and be denied the opportunity to vote in person.

So we joined the herd and requested absentee ballots. Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson predicts that about two-thirds of all votes cast in Michigan for the November 3 election will be made by absentee ballot.

But today she is issuing a warning:  It's too late to mail your ballot.

With a record number of Michiganders voting absentee, Michigan's top election official recommends placing the ballot in a dropbox or turning it in at a local clerk's office.

About half of the three million absentee ballots that have been requested in Michigan have already been returned. But that means 1.5 million ballots still need to be submitted -- and Benson warns that mailing them could put unnecessary pressure on the postal system.

“We want to ensure that every valid vote counts and is received on time,” the Secretary of State told reporters.

Ballots cannot be counted until election day. But Bridge Michigan reports that the Michigan counties that have seen the highest number of absentee ballots returned so far have typically leaned toward Democratic candidates in the past.

It's estimated that more voters who tend to vote for Republican candidates will vote in person on election day.

In Genesee County, about 34% of registered voters have requested an absentee ballot. Nearly 66,000 ballots have been returned so far. Hillary Clinton took 52.3% of the votes in Genesee County in 2016.