KNOW YOUR VOTING RIGHTS

You passed Proposal 3, making Michigan a national leader again with a voting system that works! Now what? Know your voting rights.

Watch our three-part online series on voting rights in Michigan and implementing Proposal 3, in partnership with the League of Women Voters of Michigan, Voters Not Politicians, and the Campus Vote Project.

PART ONE: Proposal 3 update
WATCH: Webinar recording
READ: Corresponding PowerPoint slides

PART TWO: Engaging your local clerk (July 17: RSVP)

PART THREE: Organizing your team to engage your local clerks (July 24: RSVP)

WHO CAN VOTE?

Can I vote in Michigan?

Can I register to vote?

What if I'm a student?

What if I've been convicted of a crime?

What if I'm homeless?

REGISTRATION

How do I register?

When is the deadline to register to vote?

Do I need identification to register to vote?

What if I've moved?

How do I know if I'm registered?

VOTING EARLY

Can I vote before Election Day?

How do I vote early?

When can I vote early?

What’s the deadline for returning my ballot?

What if there is a problem with my absentee ballot?

VOTING ON ELECTION DAY

When is Election Day?

When are the polls open?

Can I get time off from work to vote?

Where do I vote?

What if my polling place is not accessible?

Can I get a ballot in my language?

What if I need help in the voting booth?

PHOTO ID

Does Michigan law require me to show photo ID to vote?

What if I don't own a photo ID or don't bring it with me to the polls?

Do I have to show ID if this is my first time voting in Michigan?

PROBLEMS AT THE POLLS

What if I'm not on the voter list at my polling location?

What if I go to the wrong polling place?

What if someone challenges my right to vote?

What if someone tries to intimidate or harass me?

What if I make a mistake on my ballot or the optical scanner malfunctions?

How do I make a complaint?

TIPS TO AVOID PROBLEMS


WHO CAN VOTE?

Can I vote in Michigan?

You can vote in Michigan if you registered to vote by 8 p.m. on Election Day.

Can I register to vote?

You can register to vote if:

  • you’re a U.S. citizen;
  • you’re a resident of Michigan and the city or township where you want to register for at least 30 days by Election Day;
  • you’re at least 18-years-old by Election Day; and
  • you’re not incarcerated on Election Day after being convicted and sentenced for a misdemeanor or felony.

What if I'm a student?

You can register to vote at your school address or your home address — even if you are an out-of-state student at a Michigan school.  You can register to vote at whatever address you regard as your residence – your residence is where you habitually sleep, keep your belongings and have a regular place of lodging.

If you have a Michigan driver’s license or personal identification card, Michigan law requires the address on your voter registration card to match the address on your driver’s license or personal identification card. When you register to vote at a new address, the Secretary of State will automatically send you a sticker for the back of your license or identification card to reflect the new address.

If you move and need to designate another address as your primary legal residence, you can complete a change-of-address form and submit it by mail. 

If you are already registered to vote and have a Michigan driver’s license or personal identification card, you can change your address online through the Michigan Secretary of State’s Express SOS. Click on the “Update Address/Profile Details” link under “Customer Information."

What if I’ve been convicted of a crime?

You can register and vote unless you are currently incarcerated and serving a sentence for a misdemeanor or felony conviction. You can register and vote if you are on probation or parole. 

Your right to vote is automatically restored when you are released from incarceration. However, you will need to register at your current address. 

You can obtain an absentee ballot unless you are currently incarcerated and serving a sentence for a misdemeanor or felony conviction. 

What If I am homeless?

You don’t need a home to register, but you have to identify a place of residence, which can be a street corner, a park, a shelter or any other place where you usually stay. You should also provide a mailing address, which can be a local shelter, advocacy organization, outreach center, or anyone else willing to accept mail for you.  


REGISTRATION

How do I register?

You can register to vote:

  • In person at any Secretary of State branch office or your city, township or county clerks’ office. Enter your address in the Michigan Voter Information Center to find your city or township clerk or county clerk.
  • By mail by filling out a mail-in voter registration application and mailing it to your local city or township clerk. You can also get mail-in voter registration forms from any county, city, or township clerk’s office, and most libraries.
  • When applying for services at state agencies that provide public assistance (such as Medicaid, WIC and food stamps) or services to people with disabilities.
  • Through a voter registration drive, by filling out a voter registration application and giving it to a private organization to turn in for you.

When is the deadline to register to vote?

You can register in person at your city or township clerk’s office (or satellite office) until 8 p.m. on Election Day. You can find your city or township clerk by entering your address in the Michigan Voter Information Center.  

You can register in person at any Secretary of State branch office, your county clerk’s office, or the offices of a state agency that provides public assistance or services to people with disabilities through the 15th day before an election.

You can register by mail if your application is postmarked by the 15th day before an election. 

You can complete a voter registration form through a voter registration drive. The organization conducting the registration drive typically submits the form for you.

Do I need identification to register to vote?

Maybe. You do not need to provide documentation if you register to vote by mail, however you should write your driver’s license or personal ID number, or the last four digits of your social security number, on your voter registration application where indicated.

You do not need to show identification if you register to vote in person on or before the 15th day before an election.  If you register to vote in person during this period, you will be asked for photo identification. If you don’t have identification or don’t have it with you, you can sign a simple form stating that.

Beginning on the 14th day before an election through 8 p.m. on Election Day, in order to register to vote you must appear in person at the clerk’s office and provide proof that you reside in the city or township where you wish to register

To satisfy this requirement, you could provide a Michigan driver’s license or personal ID card or any of the following, if it is current and has your name and address on it:

  • A current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check, or other government document.

What if I've moved?

You should update your registration whenever you move. See above for how to register to vote up to and including Election Day.

If you moved within a city or township but did not update your voter registration, you can vote at your old precinct one last time. 

If you moved to a different city or township within 60 days of the election and did not update your voter registration, you can vote at your old precinct one last time. 

If you moved to a different city or township more than 60 days before the election and did not update your voter registration, you can register to vote in your new community up until 8 p.m. on Election Day. You’ll need to appear in person at the clerk’s office and provide proof that you reside in the city or township where you wish to register

How do I know if I'm registered?

Check your registration online at the Michigan Voter Information Center or call your local city or township clerk.


VOTING EARLY

Can I vote before Election Day?

Yes. Any registered voters can vote early using an absentee ballot without giving a reason. Voters can vote early by absentee ballot either in person at the clerk’s office or through the mail. 

If you are not registered to vote, you can register to vote and vote early in the same visit to the city or township clerk’s office where you live. 

How do I vote early?

You must submit a signed request for an absentee ballot to the city or township clerk where you are registered. You can obtain an application for an absentee ballot online (in multiple formats and language) or from your city or township clerk. Your application can be submitted by mail, fax, email or in person to the city or township clerk where you are registered as long as your signature is visible.

When can I vote early?

You can vote early through the mail by submitting your application for an absentee ballot to your city or township clerk at any time during the 75 days before an election. Your absentee ballot will be mailed to you once the ballots are printed and available – approximately 45 days prior to an election. Your application to have an absentee ballot mailed to you must be received by your city or township clerk by 5 p.m. on the Friday before the election.

You can vote early in person by applying at your city or township clerk’s office beginning 45 days prior to an election. Clerks must be available for voters to appear in person during their normal hours and for at least 8 hours the weekend before every election.  Visit the Michigan Voter Information Center or call your city or township clerk to find the exact hours and locations in your city or township. If you are already registered to vote and want to vote early in person, visit your city or township clerk’s office by 4 p.m. the day before the election.

If you are NOT registered to vote, you can visit your city or township clerk’s office to register and vote all in one visit. To register and vote in one visit, you’ll need to visit your city or township clerk’s office within 45 days of the election and no later than 8 p.m. on Election Day. Reminder, in order to register to vote beginning on the 14th day before an election and 8pm on Election Day, you must appear in person at the clerk’s office and provide proof that you reside in the city or township where you wish to register

What’s the deadline for returning my ballot?

Your absentee ballot must be received by your city or township clerk’s office no later than 8 p.m. on Election Day.

What if there is a problem with my absentee ballot?

If you requested your absentee ballot but never received it or received the absentee ballot but later lost or destroyed it, you can still vote. You can appear in person at your polling place on Election Day, complete a simple form, and vote in person. 

If you have a blank or completed absentee ballot in your possession and want to vote on Election Day instead, you can go to your polling location, surrender the absentee ballot, and vote normally.  

In these situations, you can also visit your city or township clerk by 4 p.m. the day before the election, ask the clerk to spoil your first absentee ballot and receive a new one. 


VOTING ON ELECTION DAY

When is Election Day?

  • May 7, 2019
  • August 6, 2019
  • November 5, 2019

Not every community in Michigan has an election on these dates. Visit the Michigan Voter Information Center or call your city or township clerk to see if your community has an election.

When are the polls open?

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. You have the right to vote if you are in line when the polls close.

Can I get time off from work to vote?

Michigan law doesn’t require employers to give their employees paid or unpaid time off from work to vote, but your employer might have its own policy allowing you to do so. Ask your employer well before Election Day.

Where do I vote?

If you are already registered to vote, you must vote at your assigned polling place on Election Day. Your polling place is listed on the most recent Voter Identification Card that you received in the mail. If you don’t have your card, you can call your city or township clerk or look up your polling place at the Michigan Voter Information Center.

If you are NOT registered to vote, you must go to your city or township clerk’s office before 8 p.m. on Election Day to register and vote an absentee ballot. You can find your city or township clerk at the Michigan Voter Information Center.

What if my polling place is not accessible?

If you find this out before Election Day, call your local clerk right away and ask for an assignment to an alternate site that is accessible. You have the right to an accessible polling place and an accessible voting machine.

On Election Day, you can also send someone into the polling place to request curbside voting on your behalf. Poll workers will bring a ballot outside so you can vote.

You can bring one or more people to assist you. If you’re blind, disabled, or unable to read or write you have the right to have anyone you choose assist you as long as the person is not your employer, an agent of your employer, or an officer or agent of your labor union.

Can I get a ballot in my language?

If you vote in Colfax Township or the City of Fennville, you have the right to assistance in Spanish. If you vote in the City of Hamtramck, you have the right to assistance in Bengali. You’re entitled to a translation of all ballots and other election materials.

If assistance in your language isn’t available where you vote, you have the right to bring an interpreter with you to the polls or to get assistance in your language from anyone you choose, including a poll worker, as long as the person is not your employer, an agent of your employer, or an officer or agent of your labor union.

What if I need help in the voting booth?

If you need help because you are blind, disabled, or unable to read or write, tell a poll worker when you get to your polling place. You have the right to an accessible voting machine.

You also have the right to have anyone you choose assist you in the voting booth, as long as the person is not your employer, an agent of your employer, or an officer or agent of your labor union.

If you need instructions on how to use the voting equipment, ask a poll worker for instructions. Poll workers are required to help you any time you ask, even after you’ve entered the voting booth.


PHOTO ID

Does Michigan law require me to show photo ID to vote?

No. Michigan law says you can vote by either showing a photo ID or signing a form stating that you do not have a photo ID with you. The accepted forms of photo ID are a Michigan driver’s license or personal ID card, or a current driver’s license from another state, passport, federal or military ID with a photo, student ID with a photo from a MI college or high school, or tribal ID with a photo.

What if I don't own a photo ID or don't bring it with me to the polls?

Just ask the poll worker for the form for voters who don’t have ID. You have the right to cast your ballot without ID if you sign this form.

Do I have to show ID if this is my first time voting in Michigan?

Possibly. If you’re a first-time voter in Michigan and you registered to vote by mail or a registration drive, you may be required to show some form of identification. If this applies to you, you can show either a photo ID (described above) or a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck stub, government check, or any other government document that shows your name and address.

This does not apply to anyone who is disabled, 60 years of age or older, or a military or overseas voter.


PROBLEMS AT THE POLLS

What if I'm not on the voter list at my polling location?

If you have your voter identification card or a registration receipt, show it to the poll workers and you can vote normally.

If you don’t have either of these, ask the poll worker if you are at the correct polling location for your address. If you are not at the correct polling location, go to the correct polling location.

You have the right to cast a provisional ballot even if your name isn’t on the voter list, as long as you’re willing to swear that you believe you registered to vote. 

Reminder, you can register to vote and vote an absentee ballot at any time up to 8 p.m. on Election Day by going to the city or township clerk’s office and showing proof that you reside in the city or township where you wish to register. See above: Do I need identification to register to vote?

What if I go to the wrong polling place?

If you are registered, go to the right polling place by checking your registration prior to Election Day. You can also ask a poll worker to help you find the right polling place, call your city or township clerk, or look up your polling place online at the Michigan Voter Information Center.

If you aren’t registered where you live, go to the city or township clerk’s office before 8 p.m. on Election Day to register to vote. Once you are registered, you can cast an absentee ballot in the same visit. 

What if someone challenges my right to vote?

Ask to be sworn in and answer whatever questions are necessary to establish your eligibility. Once you truthfully answer questions that show that you’re eligible, you have the right to cast a regular ballot.

What if someone tries to intimidate or harass me?

Tell a poll worker immediately. If the poll worker is the problem, tell a poll watcher and call your local clerk or an election hotline number.

What if I make a mistake on my ballot or the optical scanner malfunctions?

If you make a mistake or spoil your ballot, tell a poll worker before you put it in the optical scanner. You have the right to a replacement ballot as long as you can catch your mistake before you put it in the scanner.

If your ballot is rejected by the scanner, ask for a replacement immediately. By law, you have the right to vote another ballot.

How do I make a complaint?

First, ask the person in charge of your polling place. They can handle most routine complaints that arise on Election Day.

If they can’t resolve your complaint, call your city or township clerk’s office or the Michigan Bureau of Elections at (800) 292-5973. You can also report the issue to the ACLU of Michigan by calling (313) 578-6800, reporting your issue online, or emailing votingrights@aclumich.org.


TIPS TO AVOID PROBLEMS

Check your voter registration before you vote.

Look up your voter registration at Michigan Voter Information Center or call your local city or township clerk. Get registered or update your registration address ASAP.  

Vote early.
 

Make a plan to vote.

Locate your polling place, plan how and when you’ll go vote. 

Review a sample ballot at Michigan Voter Information Center

Print it out, mark it up and bring it with you to vote. 

On Election Day, vote in the middle of the day if possible. 

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day.

If you have photo ID, bring it with you to vote.

If you have your voter registration card, registration receipt, or any other official documents with your name and address, bring those too.

Read all instructions carefully and ask for help if you need it.

Stay informed

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