Request your absentee ballot
All registered voters can vote early from home using an absentee ballot. You don't need an excuse or reason. You can request your absentee ballot beginning on August 20, 2020.
Step 1: Request your ballot. You can do this online here if you have a valid Michigan driver’s license or state ID. If not, fill out an application for an absentee ballot, sign it using your official signature, and submit it to your city/township clerk. You can mail the application, take a photo of it and email it, or drop it off in person. Make sure your signature is visible if you email it.
- Note: If you already applied for a November absentee ballot earlier this year, you do not need to apply again. Check to see if you already applied at michigan.gov/vote.
Step 2: Vote your ballot. Look for your ballot to arrive in the mail. Vote your ballot, place it in the envelope provided, and sign the outside of the envelope.
Step 3: Submit your ballot. Your completed absentee ballot must be received by your city/township clerk by 8 pm on Election Day in order to be counted. Since the mail can take some time, you should drop your ballot in the mail as soon as possible. Starting on October 20, 2020, we recommend that you drop it off at your city/township clerk’s office or in a drop box provided by the clerk to make sure that it arrives in time to be counted.
You may have received an Absent Voter Ballot Application in the mail from your clerk, a campaign or a civic engagement organization. If you didn’t, call your city/township clerk and ask to have an application mailed to you, or download an application form here.
You can track the status of your absentee ballot application and your ballot at 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.
Absentee ballots are tabulated publicly just as ballots voted in polling places are, and volunteer observers appointed by both political parties are permitted in absentee counting rooms to make sure all proper procedures are followed. The Michigan Democratic Party will have hundreds of volunteer lawyers and other trained observers in absentee counting rooms across the state to monitor the counting process to verify that all valid ballots are counted.
To ensure that your absentee ballot is counted, remember to sign the outside of the return envelope with your official signature. And make sure that your ballot is received by your city/township clerk by 8 pm on November 3. The #1 reason why absentee ballots are not counted is that they arrive too late.
Submit your application now! You should begin the process as early as possible. We recommend submitting your application by October 3, 2020 to allow enough time for your absentee ballot to arrive in the mail and time for you to return it by mail.
Your completed absentee ballot must be received by your city/township clerk by 8 pm on November 3 in order to count. Postmarked by November 3 doesn’t work!
Yes! Your right to vote for all of the candidates of one party by filling in a single oval or box on the ballot was restored by the passage of Proposal 3 in 2018. In the partisan section of the ballot, look for “Straight Party Ticket” and fill in the oval or box for “Democratic Party.” Don’t forget to also vote for individual choices in the non-partisan section (judges and proposals), which is not covered by your straight-party vote.
To automatically receive an application for an absentee ballot before each election, you can sign up for your city/township clerk’s permanent absentee application list. You’ll still have to complete and return the application each time in order to receive your ballot for that election, but the application will automatically be sent to you.
You can find out if your city/township has a permanent absentee application list by visiting michigan.gov/vote, and entering your information.
Ways to sign up for the permanent absentee application list:
- Online at michigan.gov/vote
- Check the “Future Elections” box on the Absent Voter Ballot Application.
- Call or email your clerk and request to be added to the list.
- Sign up on your clerk’s website (if available).
- Fill out this request form and mail it or deliver it to your clerk.
Some city/township clerks do not maintain a permanent absentee application list. If you request to be on the list and your clerk doesn’t maintain one, the clerk is required to notify you of that fact.
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 at 4 pm. Or you can go to your polling place on November 3, complete a simple form saying you never received your absentee ballot, and vote.
What if I received my absentee ballot but then made a mistake on it or lost it, or it was destroyed?
Visit your city/township clerk’s office as soon as possible to cancel your first absentee ballot and request a new one. If you still have the absentee ballot, because you made a mistake or it was only partially destroyed, take it with you. The deadline to do this is Monday, November 2 at 4 pm.
Or go to your polling place on November 3, fill out a simple form and vote. If you have the absentee ballot, because you made a mistake or it was only partially destroyed, take it with you and surrender it.
Simply take your absentee ballot to your polling place on November 3, surrender it, and vote at the polling place.
No. If you haven’t returned your absentee ballot by November 3, take it to your city/township clerk’s office by 8 pm.
Only a member of your immediate family can mail or deliver a ballot to the clerk for you. “Immediate family member” includes mother, father, sister, brother, daughter, son, father-in-law, mother-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, grandparent, grandchild, or a person residing in your household.
If you need assistance returning a ballot, call your local clerk by 5 pm on Saturday, October 31 and ask the clerk to pick up your ballot. The clerk is required to do this, or send an assistant to do it, if you or a family or household member can’t return the ballot, and the clerk doesn’t need to leave the city, township or village where you’re registered in order to pick it up. Find your clerk’s contact information at michigandems.com/clerk.
If you cannot attend the polls because of personal disablement, or a family death or illness which will require you to leave your community for the entire time the polls are open on November 3, you can request an emergency absentee ballot. You can do this between 5 pm on Friday, October 30 and 4 pm on Tuesday, November 3. The emergency must have occurred at a time which made it impossible for you to apply for an absentee ballot by 5 pm on Friday, October 30. You can authorize someone to deliver your absentee ballot application to the clerk and to pick up and deliver the ballot for you. The authorization to pick up and deliver the ballot must be in writing and you must sign it.