GET OUT THE VOTE
Voting is Easy!
- August 4, 2020 – Primary Election
- November 3, 2020 – General Election
Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced on May 19 that all registered voters in Michigan will receive an application to vote by mail in the August 4 and November 3 elections.
In Michigan, all registered voters can vote by mail, and the first step is requesting that your ballot be mailed to you. The Secretary of State is making it easier for all voters to request their ballot by mailing the application form to voters who might not have easy access to it.
A ballot that is mailed to you is called an “absentee ballot” or “absent voter ballot.” Your application for an absentee ballot will come in the mail from the Michigan Bureau of Elections, your city/township clerk, or your county clerk, depending on where you live and whether you are on the permanent absentee voter list or not.
You can use this application to apply now for both your August primary ballot and your November ballot!
How voting by mail works:
- Be on the lookout for your absentee ballot application in the mail. It should arrive by late May or early June.
- Fill out the application. Be sure to check the box for both the August and November elections. The box will look something like this:
Or it may look like this:
- If you’re not already on the permanent absentee voter list, we recommend that you also check the box that says “ I want to vote absentee in all future elections.” That way, you’ll be sure to get an absentee ballot application in the mail before every election.
- Sign the application. This is very important! Your application can’t be processed unless it’s signed.
- Return the application to your city/township clerk by doing one of the following:
– Take a photo of the application and email it to your local clerk
– Mail the application to our local clerk
– Drop off the application at your local clerk’s office. Be sure to call first to make sure the clerk’s office is open. Find your clerk’s contact info here
- Your ballot for the August 4 statewide primary will be mailed to you around June 25. You’ll be able to vote from the comfort of your home and mail back your ballot or drop it off at your local clerk’s office.
Ballots must be received by 8 pm on August 4 in order to count. Questions? Call the MDP Voter Assistance Hotline, 1-833-MI-VOTES (1-833-648-6837).
Q: What should I do if I don’t receive an application for an absentee ballot in the mail?
A: Contact your local clerk and ask to have one mailed to you. Find your clerk’s contact info here. You can also download an application here.
Q: What if I receive more than one application for an absentee ballot?
A: Simply complete and return one of the applications.
Q: How do I know where to return my application for an absentee ballot?
A: The easiest way to return your application is by taking a photo of it, or scanning it, and emailing it to your city/township clerk. If your clerk’s email address is not on the application, you can look it up here. If you would rather mail your application back, and the address is not on the application, you can also look up your clerk’s address here.
Q: Why are we being encouraged to vote by mail? Will there be polling places open in August and November?
A: Voting by mail is safe and convenient. Although we expect that polling places will be open in August and November, many voters may be more comfortable voting by mail.
Q: If I apply for an absentee ballot, can I change my mind later and vote at a polling place?
A: Yes. If you change your mind later, you can bring your un-voted absentee ballot to your polling place, turn it in, and vote at the polling place.
Q: I don’t really use or trust the mail to deliver important things. Do I have to mail my absentee ballot or can I hand it in?
A: You do not have to use the postal service to deliver your ballot. You can hand deliver it to your city/township clerk’s office any time by 8 pm on Election Day.
Q: How will I know that my ballot was actually delivered or accepted?
A: You can track your ballot online at michigan.gov/vote. If it shows “received,” that means it has been received and is ready to be counted on Election Day.
Register to Vote
Am I eligible to vote?
In order to register to vote, you must be: a U.S. citizen; at least 18 years old by Election Day; a resident of Michigan and the city/township where you are registering for at least 30 days prior to Election Day; and not serving a sentence in jail or prison. You do not need photo ID in order to register to vote! If you do not have photo ID, you can sign a simple form saying that and still register.
How do I register to vote?
Find out if you’re registered here.
You can register to vote anytime through 8 pm on Election Day, but it’s easier if you do it at least fifteen days before Election Day.
Prior to July 21, 2020, you can register for the August 4 primary any of these ways: online, in person at any Secretary of State branch office; at your city/township clerk’s office or your county clerk’s office; through a registration drive; or by mail with this form.
Online registration is only available if you have a Michigan driver’s license or state ID. You do not need a Michigan driver’s license or state ID to register the other ways.
From July 21, 2020 through 8 pm on August 4, 2020, you can register for the primary in person at your city/township clerk’s office, and you’ll need proof of residency. Find your city/township clerk’s office and hours here.
What works for proof of residency?
Driver’s license or state ID; utility bill; bank statement; paycheck; government check; other government document. Documents must have your name and an address in the community where you are registering. Electronic copies are ok.
Do I need a photo ID or proof of citizenship to register to vote?
No. If you register to vote in person, you will be asked for a photo ID. If you don’t have one, you can sign a simple form stating that.
If you register by mail or through a voter registration drive, write your Michigan’s driver’s license or personal ID number, or the last four digits of your social security number, on the voter registration application where indicated.
What if I moved?
When you move, you should update your voter registration. There is no charge for this.
- Online: If you have a Michigan driver’s license or state ID, you can update your voter registration address online here.
- By Mail: You can update your voter registration address by mail with this form.
- In Person: You can update your voter registration address in person at any Secretary of State branch office, or at your city/township clerk’s office.
Option 1: Vote early from home
- Step 1: Apply for your absentee ballot. Fill out this Absent Voter Ballot Application, print it and mail, email, fax or take it to your city/township clerk. Your ballot will be mailed to you about 45 days before Election Day.
- Step 2: Vote and submit your ballot. Vote your ballot, sign the outer envelope and mail it back to your city/township clerk. Don’t forget to attach enough postage.
- Step 3: Track your ballot. You can track the status of your absentee ballot online at michigan.gov/vote. If it doesn’t arrive, contact your clerk.
Option 2: Vote Early at Clerk’s Office
- Starting on June 22, 2020, go to your city/township clerk’s office and request an absentee ballot. You can also register first if necessary. Find your clerk’s office and hours here.
- Vote your ballot and return it to the clerk. You’re done!
- The deadline for voting early at your clerk’s office is on Monday, August 3, 2020 for the August 4 primary.
Permanent Absentee Application ListTo 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 ballot by visiting michigan.gov/vote, and entering your information. Ways to sign up for the permanent absentee application list:
- Check the “other 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,
Vote on Election Day
When are polls open?
Polls are open on August 4, 2020 from 7 am to 8 pm. Find your polling place and see what’s on the ballot at michigan.gov/vote.
Can I register to vote on election day?
If it’s Election Day and you’re not yet registered to vote, you can still register! But you can’t do that at your polling place. To register on Election Day, you need to go to your city/township clerk’s office by 8 pm. Once you register, you can also vote there — you don’t need to go to your polling place. Find your clerk’s office here.
What if there’s a problem?
If you go to your polling place on Election Day and you have any problem getting a ballot, remember that you can go to your city/township clerk’s office until 8 pm, re-register and vote right there. This is likely to be a better option than a provisional ballot, because provisional ballots often do not get counted.