KNOW YOUR RIGHTS

KNOW YOUR VOTING RIGHTS

Michigan General Election Edition
Tuesday, November 3, 2020

 

Your vote is your voice and your voice matters. 

It’s now easier than ever to register and vote in Michigan!

You’ll find answers to common questions, including:

  • Who can register to vote 

  • How to register to vote 

  • How to vote before Election Day 

  • How to vote on Election Day 

 
 

WHO CAN REGISTER AND VOTE

Can I register to vote?

You can register and vote in Michigan 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 Election Day);

  • You are at least 17.5 years old and will be 18 years old by Election Day; and,

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

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.

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. The address 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 michigan.gov/vote to see if you are registered to vote. Check to see that you are registered to vote where you currently live.  You can also call your city, township or county clerk’s office, or the nonpartisan Election Protection hotline at the top of this page. 

How do I register to vote for the election on November 3, 2020?

Prior to October 20, 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 or your county clerk’s office; 

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

  • By mailing in a completed voter registration application postmarked by October 19, 2020; or,

  • Through a voter registration drive. 

Starting on October 20, 2020 and through 8 p.m. on November 3, 2020, you have one way to register to vote:

  • Visit your city/township clerk’s office 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/township where you live. 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/township clerk’s office, and when is it open?

Visit the Michigan Voter Information Center michigan.gov/vote, click on the “Your Clerk” tab, and enter your address to find information for your city/township clerk.  Or call your city/township clerk’s office.  City and township clerks’ offices must be open during their normal hours, for at least 8 hours the weekend before each election, and from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day.

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

No. You will be asked for a photo ID if you register 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 register to vote through the mail, and you have a Michigan driver’s license or state ID card, or a social security number, enter the numbers on your voter registration application where indicated.  

 
 

VOTING BEFORE ELECTION DAY 

You can vote before Election Day!

All registered voters in Michigan can now vote before Election Day using 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/township clerk’s office.

How do I vote FROM HOME before Election Day?

Step 1: Request Your Ballot. Fill out an application for an absentee ballot, sign it using your official signature and submit it to your city/township clerk. You can submit your completed application by email, mail, fax, or in person.   You can track when your application is received by your clerk and when your ballot is mailed to you at the Michigan Voter Information Center michigan.gov/vote.

Step 2: Fill Out Your Ballot. Look for your absentee ballot to arrive in the mail. Once it arrives, fill it out, place it in the envelope provided, and sign the outside of the envelope with your official signature. Be sure to provide your phone number or email address so that your clerk can contact you if there are any issues with your ballot.  

Step 3: Turn in Your Ballot. You should submit your completed ballot as soon as possible, but do not return it by regular mail.

  • You can return it by expedited mail service with guaranteed delivery by Tuesday, November 3.

  • You can drop it off at your city/township clerk's office or a secure drop box provided by your clerk by 8 p.m. on Tuesday, November 3.

  • You can have an immediate family member (including a grandparent, grandchild, or in-law) or a person residing in your household drop it off for you by 8 p.m. on Tuesday, November 3.

  • You can call your city/township clerk and ask that they pick up your completed ballot (only available within the city/township of the clerk). You must call your clerk by 5 p.m. on Friday, October 30. 

Where can I get an application for an absentee ballot? 

You can download an application from the Michigan Voter Information Center michigan.gov/vote or call your city/township clerk and ask that an application be mailed to you.  You may also use an application for an absentee ballot mailed to you by the Secretary of State, your clerk, a political party or another civic engagement organization.   

 

If you have a valid Michigan driver's license or state ID, you can complete your application online at michigan.gov/vote.

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

Submit your application now! You should begin the process as early as possible.  We strongly recommend submitting  your application by September 15, 2020 to give you time to receive and return your absentee ballot. Your completed absentee ballot must be received by your city/township clerk by 8 p.m. on Election Day.

How do I vote IN PERSON before Election Day? 

Step 1: Go to your city/township clerk’s office.

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 submit it to the staff. 

When can I vote IN PERSON before Election Day? 

You can go to your city/township clerk’s office to vote in person starting on September 24, 2020.  If you are already registered to vote where you live, the deadline to vote IN PERSON at your city/township clerk’s office is Monday, November 2, 2020 at 4 p.m.  If you are not registered to vote where you live, the deadline to register and vote at your city/township clerk’s office is 8 p.m. on November 3, 2020.

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

Visit the Michigan Voter Information Center michigan.gov/vote , click on the “Your Clerk” tab, and enter your address to find information for your city/township clerk.  Or call your city/township clerk’s office.  City and township clerks’ offices must be open during their normal hours, for at least 8 hours the weekend before each election, and from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day.

Is your clerk’s office accessible? 

You have the right to an accessible voting location and an accessible voting machine. If your clerk’s office is not accessible or there is no accessible voting machine, call your city/township clerk right away, report it, and ask for an alternate site. You can also call the nonpartisan Election Protection hotline at the top of this page to report the issue. 

 

VOTING ON ELECTION DAY

When is Election Day?

Tuesday, November 3, 2020.

When are the polls open?

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

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. 

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

How do I find my polling place? 

You can find your polling place: 

• Online at the Michigan Voter Information Center michigan.gov/vote

• On your Voter Identification Card; 

• By calling your city/township clerk; or, 

• By calling the nonpartisan Election Protection hotline at the top of this page.

What if I’ve moved? 

You should update your voter registration whenever you move.  If you did not update your registration by Election Day, you can register to vote at your city/township clerk’s office with proof of residency until 8 p.m. on Election Day.

You can also vote at your old polling place one last time if:

• You moved within the same city or township; or, 

• You moved to a different city or township after September 4, 2020.   

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?

You have the right to an accessible polling place and an accessible voting machine.  If it is before Election Day, call your city/ township clerk right away and ask for an assignment to an alternate site that is accessible. You can also call the nonpartisan Election Protection hotline at the top of this page to report the issue.

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.

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. However, 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; or

•    Tribal ID card

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

•    Current utility bill

•    Bank statement

•    Paycheck stub

•    Government check; or

•    Any other government document

 

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

Maybe. If you have it bring it with you. If you registered to vote very close to Election Day, bring the receipt in case your name is not in the poll book.

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,

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

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

Call or visit your city or township clerk’s office as soon as possible to cancel your first absentee ballot and request a new one. If you have the absentee ballot, because you made an error or it was only partially destroyed, take it with you. Or go to your polling place on Election Day, fill out a form and vote. 

What if I registered to vote but 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 your 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 by absentee ballot in the clerk’s office.

If you cannot go to the clerk’s office with proof of residency, you may be able to cast 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 that you are registered to vote.

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 to vote where you currently live, go to your 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 at the end of this guide.

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?

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Where is my absentee ballot?

You can track your absentee ballot and application at the Michigan Voter Information Center michigan.gov/vote. Enter your information to see when:

  • Your application for your absentee ballot was received by your city/township clerk;

  • Your ballot was mailed to you; and, 

  • Your completed ballot was received by your city/township clerk.  

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

Call or visit your city/township clerk’s office as soon as possible to cancel your first absentee ballot and request a new one.  The deadline to do this is Monday, November 2, 2020 at 4 p.m.   Or you can 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 or visit your city/township clerk’s office as soon as possible to cancel your first absentee ballot and request a new one.  The deadline to do this is Monday, November 2, 2020 at 4 p.m.   If you have the absentee ballot, because you made an error or it was only partially destroyed, take it with you. 

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

What if I received my absentee ballot but I don’t have enough time to mail it back to your clerk?

Your absentee ballot must be RECEIVED by your city/township clerk by 8 p.m. on November 3, 2020 to be counted. Beginning on October 20, 2020 you should drop your completed absentee ballot off at your city/township clerk's office or a drop box provided by the clerk rather than mailing it.

What if I have my absentee ballot but decide to vote in person on Election Day?

If you decided not to vote by absentee ballot, take your absentee ballot to your polling place on Election Day and surrender it.  You will then be issued a new ballot that you can vote in the polling location.

What if I mailed my absentee ballot to my city/township clerk but I am concerned it won’t arrive in time?

Track your absentee ballot at the Michigan Voter Information Center michigan.gov/vote. If your absentee ballot has not been marked as “received” visit your city/township clerk’s office, ask to spoil your original absentee ballot, and vote a new one.  The deadline to do this is Monday, November 2, 2020 at 4 p.m.   

What if I registered to vote but I’m not on the voter list at my polling place?

If you have the receipt you received when you registered to vote, show it to the poll worker and then 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 at the correct polling place but are not on the voter list, you can go to your city/ township clerk’s office with proof of residency and register to vote before 8 p.m. on Election Day. While at the clerk’s office, you can vote by absentee ballot.  

If you cannot go to the clerk’s office with proof of residency, you may be able to cast 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 current 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. If your ballot goes into the envelope, you have six days after Election Day to go to the clerk’s office with any documentation to show that you are registered to vote.

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 michigan.gov/vote, by calling the nonpartisan Election Protection hotline at the top of this page, or by calling your city/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 to vote where you currently live, go to your city/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/township clerk.  If the city/township clerk doesn’t address the problem, call one of the nonpartisan Election Protection hotlines at the end of this guide.

What if someone challenges my right to vote?

Step 1: Ask to be sworn in by the poll worker,

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 the mistake 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.

Call the Election Protection hotlines for assistance at any time.  

  • For assistance in English, call 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683); 
     

  • Para recibir ayuda en español, llama a 888-VE-Y-VOTA (888-839-8682); 

844-YALLA-US (844-925-5287) :للمساعدة باللغة العربية، اتصل على● 
‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

  • For assistance in Bengali, Cantonese, English, Hindi, Korean, Mandarin, Tagalog, Urdu or Vietnamese call 888-API-VOTE (888-274-8683).

For additional information or questions, email: questions@michiganvoting.org.

Download the Know Your Rights Guide in English

 

”আপনার অধিকার জানুন” শীর্ষক ভোটার নির্দেশিকাটি ডাউনলোড করুন

 

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For more information please contact info@michiganvoting.org