KNOW YOUR RIGHTS

KNOW YOUR VOTING RIGHTS

Your vote is your voice and your voice matters.  It’s now easier than ever to register and vote in Michigan!

Read this guide for the most up-to-date information on how to vote and make your voice heard in Michigan’s Presidential Primary on Tuesday, March 10, 2020.  

 

Inside, you’ll find answers to many common questions, including:

 
 

WHO CAN REGISTER AND VOTE

Can I vote in Michigan?

You must be registered to vote in order to vote in Michigan.

Can I register to vote?

You can register to vote for the Michigan Presidential Primary if:

  • You are a U.S. citizen;

  •  You are a resident of a city or township in Michigan for at least 30 days
    (or will be by March 10, 2020);

  • You are at least 18 years old (or will be by March 10, 2020); and

  • You are not currently serving a sentence in jail or prison.

What address do I use to register to vote?

You use the address you consider to be your primary residence. Your primary residence is the place where you sleep most regularly and keep your belongings.

What if I'm a student?

Students who come from Michigan and attend a school in Michigan can register to vote at their school address or their home address. Students coming from Michigan who attend a school outside of Michigan can still register to vote at their home address in Michigan. Students who are not from Michigan but are attending school in Michigan can register to vote at their school address in Michigan. For questions about registering to vote in other states, check out the resources on voting in that state.

If you have a Michigan driver’s license or state ID card and you are registered to vote in Michigan, your voter registration address and the address on your ID will be the same. If you change the address on one, it will automatically change the other. The Secretary of State will mail you a sticker with your new address to place on your license or ID card. Once registered, you can change your address through Michigan’s online voter registration system. www.mi.gov/VoterRegistration

What if I’m in jail or was convicted of a crime?

The only time you cannot register and vote is when you are serving a sentence in jail or prison.  

You can register to vote and vote:

  • If you are in jail but have not been sentenced;

  • If you are serving a sentence but are not in jail or prison;

  • If you are on probation or parole but are not in jail or prison; or

  • If you served your sentence and are no longer in jail or prison. 

What If I am homeless?

If you don’t have a home, you can register to vote using a street corner, park, shelter or any other place where you usually stay as your address. You can describe the location using two cross-streets. 

It is helpful, but not required, to have a mailing address. This can be a local shelter, advocacy organization, outreach center, or someone who will accept mail for you.

 
 

VOTER REGISTRATION

You can register to vote at any time!

You must be registered to vote in order to vote in Michigan. You can register at any time up to 8 p.m. on Election Day, but it is better to register as soon as possible. The earlier you register the more choices you will have for how to register. 

Am I registered to vote?

Visit the Michigan Voter Information Center www.mi.gov/vote  to see if you are registered to vote. Check to see that you are registered to vote where you currently live.

Or call your city, township or county clerk’s office, or the Election Protection hotlines.

How do I register to vote for the Presidential Primary on March 10, 2020?

Prior to February 25, 2020, you have many ways to register to vote:

  • Online at www.mi.gov/VoterRegistration

  • At a Secretary of State branch office;

  • At your city or township clerk’s office(s); or your county clerk’s office;

  • At any state agency that provides public assistance or services to people with disabilities;

  • By mailing a completed voter registration application  to your city or township clerk, postmarked by February 24, 2020; or

  • Through a voter registration drive.
     

Starting on February 25, 2020 and through 8 p.m. on March 10, 2020, you have one way to register to vote:

  • Visit the city or township clerk’s office where you live and provide “proof of residency.”

What is "proof of residency"?

“Proof of residency” is a document with your name and current address in the city or township where you

wish to register to vote. Paper or electronic copies of any of the following documents will work:

  • A Michigan driver’s license or state ID card;

  • A utility bill;

  • A bank statement;

  • A paycheck;

  • A government check; or

  • Any other government document.

Where is my city or township clerk’s office(s) and when is it open?

Visit the Michigan Voter Information Center michigan.gov/vote and enter your address to find your city or township clerk’s address and hours.

Clerk’s office(s)s are open during their normal hours and for at least 8 hours over the weekend of March 7-8, 2020.

Do I need a photo ID or proof of citizenship to register to vote?

No. You may be asked for a photo ID when registering to vote in person. If you don’t have one or don’t have one with you, you can sign a simple form and then register to vote.

If you have a Michigan driver’s license or state ID card, or a social security number, include the numbers on your voter registration application where indicated.  

What if I've moved?

You should update your registration whenever you move. 

If you haven’t updated your registration to your current address by Election Day, you can vote at your old polling place one last time if you:

  • Moved within the same city or township; OR

  • Moved to a different city or township after January 10, 2020.

 
 

VOTING BEFORE ELECTION DAY BY ABSENTEE BALLOT

You can vote before Election Day!

All registered voters in Michigan can now vote before Election Day using what’s called an absentee ballot. You don’t need an excuse or a reason. You can vote before Election Day from home, or by going to your city or township clerk’s office.

How do I vote FROM HOME before Election Day?

Step 1: Request an absentee ballot. There are a few ways to do this:

Step 2: Complete the application, sign it using your official signature and submit it to your city or township clerk. You can submit your application by mail, fax, email or in person. Make sure your signature is visible.

 

Step 3: Keep an eye out for your absentee ballot to arrive in the mail. You can track your application and ballot at the Michigan Voter Information Center www.mi.gov/vote.

 

Step 4: Fill out your ballot, place it in the envelope provided, and sign the outside of the envelope using your official signature.    

 

Step 5: Turn in your ballot. Your completed absentee ballot must be received by your city or township clerk by 8 p.m. on March 10, 2020. To ensure your ballot arrives by the deadline: 

•    Drop it in the mail by March 3, 2020.

•    After March 3, 2020, it is better to drop it off at your city or township clerk’s office.

What is the deadline to vote FROM HOME before Election Day?

Your completed absentee ballot must be received by your city or township clerk by 8 p.m. on March 10, 2020.

Begin the process early by mailing in your application for an absentee ballot as soon as possible. Your application for the Presidential Primary can be submitted after December 26, 2019.

How do I vote IN PERSON before Election Day?

Step 1: Go to your city or township clerk’s office after January 25, 2020.

Step 2: Fill out an application for an absentee ballot and submit it to the staff.

Step 3: Fill out your ballot, place it in the envelope provided, sign the outside of the envelope with your official signature, and leave it with the staff. 

What is the deadline to vote IN PERSON before Election Day?

If you are already registered to vote where you live, the deadline is Monday, March 9, 2020, at 4 p.m. at your city or township clerk’s office.

 

If you are not registered to vote where you live, you must visit your city or township clerk’s office with proof of residency by 8 p.m. on March 10, 2020 to register and vote. 

Where is my city or township clerk’s office and when is it open?

Your city or township clerk’s office must be open during their normal hours and at least 8 hours over the weekend of March 7-8, 2020, for voting before Election Day. The dates and times will vary by clerk. Visit the Michigan Voter Information Center michigan.gov/vote and enter your address to
find your city or township clerk’s address and hours.

 

VOTING ON ELECTION DAY

When is Election Day?

The Michigan Presidential Primary is on Tuesday, March 10, 2020.

When are the polls open?

Poll are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. local time.  You have the right to vote if you are in line at 8pm.

What will be on the ballot?

Where do I vote on Election Day?

If you are already registered to vote where you live, you must vote at your assigned polling place.  

You can find your polling place:

  • Online at the Michigan Voter Information Center www.mi.gov/vote;

  • On your Voter Identification Card;

  • By calling your city or township clerk; or

  • By calling the Election Protection hotlines.

 

If you are not registered to vote where you live, you must visit your city or township clerk’s office with proof of residency by 8 p.m. on March 10, 2020 to register. Once registered, you can vote an absentee ballot in the clerk’s office or go to your polling place, if there is time to do so.

Can I get a ride to the polls?

Yes. Call one of the Election Protection hotlines on the back of this guide for more information.

Can I get time off from work to vote?

Your employer isn’t required to give you paid or unpaid time off to vote. Ask if they have a policy that allows you to take time off. If they don’t, vote before Election Day. 

 

VOTING ACCESSIBILITY

What if my polling place is not accessible?

If it is before Election Day, call your city or township 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.

 

If it is Election Day, send someone into the polling place to request curbside voting on your behalf. The poll workers at your polling place will bring a ballot outside so you can vote.

If your polling location or clerk's office is not accessible call the Election Protection Hotline
(866) OUR-VOTE

Can I get a ballot in my language?

If you vote in Colfax Township or the City of Fennville, you have the right to a ballot and election materials in Spanish. 

If you vote in the City of Hamtramck, you have the right to a ballot and election materials in Bengali. 

If you do not read or write English and a ballot is not available in your language, you have the right to assistance from anyone you choose. However, the person cannot be:

  • Your employer,

  • An agent of your employer, or

  • An officer or agent of your labor union.

What if I need assistance voting?

You have the right to vote independently using an accessible voting machine. If you would like to use an accessible voting machine, tell an election official when you arrive to vote. 

 

You have the right to assistance from the election officials. You can ask the election officials for instructions on how to use the voting equipment or assistance at any time, even after you’ve entered the voting booth. 

 

If you are blind, disabled, or unable to read or write, you have the right to assistance from anyone you choose. However, the person cannot be:

  • Your employer,

  • An agent of your employer, or

  • An officer or agent of your labor union.

 

IDENTIFICATION FOR VOTING

Do I need a photo ID to vote?

No. But if you have it, bring it with you and provide it to the poll worker.  

 

You will be asked for photo ID when you go vote. If you do not have photo ID or do not have it with you, you can sign a simple form and vote.

Do I need a photo ID to vote if this is my first time voting in Michigan?

No. A small number of first time voters who registered through the mail or a voter registration drive may need to provide some documentation to vote. Electronic or paper copies of any of the following will work:

 

A photo ID with your name and picture (regardless of the address or if it has an address):

•    Driver’s license or personal ID card from any state

•    High school or college ID

•    Passport

•    Military or government issued photo ID

•    Tribal ID card

A non-photo ID with your name and address on it:

•    Current utility bill

•    Bank statement

•    Paycheck stub

•    Government check

•    Any other government document

If you are disabled or a military or overseas voter, this doesn’t apply.

Do I need the receipt I received when I registered to vote?

No. But if you have it, bring it with you. 

Do I need my Voter Identification Card to vote?

No. But if you have it, bring it with you. 

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Where is my absentee ballot?

You can track your absentee ballot and application at the Michigan Voter Information Center www.mi.gov/vote. Visit the site to see if:

  • Your application was processed by your city or township clerk;

  • Your absentee ballot was mailed to you; and 

  • Whether your absentee ballot was received by your city or township clerk.  

Once your absentee ballot is marked “received,” you know that there were no problems and your absentee ballot is ready to be counted.

What should I do if I requested an absentee ballot but never received it?

Call your city or township clerk as soon as possible to cancel your first absentee ballot and request a new one.  

Or go to your city or township clerk’s office by 4 p.m. on March 9, 2020 to cancel your absentee ballot and get a new one.

 

Or go to your polling place on Election Day, complete a simple form and vote.

What if I received my absentee ballot but then made an error on it or it was lost or destroyed?

Call your city or township clerk as soon as possible to cancel your first absentee ballot and request a new one.

 

Or go to your city or township clerk’s office by 4 p.m. on March 9, 2020 to cancel your absentee ballot and get a new one. If you have the absentee ballot, because when you made an error it was only partially destroyed, take it with you.

Or go to your polling place on Election Day, fill out a form and vote. If you have the absentee ballot, because when you made an error it was only partially destroyed, take it with you.

What if I’m not on the voter list at my polling place?

If you have the receipt you received when you registered to vote, show that to the poll worker in order to vote. If you don’t have your receipt, give the poll worker your address and ask if you’re at the correct polling place. If you are not at the right polling place for your address, go to the correct polling place.

 

If you are not on the voter list, you can go to the city or township clerk’s office with proof of residency and register to vote before 8 p.m. on Election Day. While there, you can vote an absentee ballot in the clerk’s office.  

 

If you cannot go to the clerk’s office with proof of residency, you can cast what’s called a “provisional ballot.” To do this, you’ll have to swear you believe you previously registered to vote.

 

If you can provide a photo ID that shows your address in that polling place, your provisional ballot will go into the machine and be counted on Election Day. If not, it will go into an envelope and the clerk will review it after Election Day. You have six days after Election Day to go to the clerk’s office with any documentation to show you are registered. You must be provided with a handout explaining this.

What if I go to the wrong polling place?

Go to the correct polling place by looking it up online at the Michigan Voter Information Center www.mi.gov/vote or by calling your city or township clerk before you go vote.

 

If you arrive at the wrong polling place, ask a poll worker to help you find your correct polling place.

 

If you aren’t registered where you currently live, go to the city or township clerk’s office with proof of residency before 8 p.m. on Election Day to register to vote. 

What if I have a problem voting, or someone is trying to intimidate or harass me?

Tell a poll worker immediately. If the poll worker is the problem or they don’t address the problem, call your local city or township clerk.

 

If the city or township clerk doesn’t address the problem, call one of the Election Protection hotlines.

What if someone challenges my right to vote?

Step 1: Ask to be sworn in by the pollworker,

 

Step 2: Answer whatever questions are necessary to establish your eligibility to vote, and

 

Step 3: Vote.

What if I make a mistake on my ballot or the voting machine malfunctions?

If you make a mistake, ask for a new ballot right away. You have the right to a new ballot if you catch it before your ballot is inserted into the tabulator machine and counted. 

 

If the scanner rejects your ballot, ask for a new one. You have the right to start over.

 

If the tabulator machine isn’t working, you can place your completed ballot into a bin in the tabulator machine. The poll workers will insert your ballot into the tabulator once the machine is working again.

 

Download the Know Your Rights Guide in English

 

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We will email periodic updates about the election deadlines.

For more information please contact info@michiganvoting.org