Michigan’s Nov. 8 general election is less than five weeks away and some residents are already casting absentee ballots by mail or in the offices of municipal clerks.
Registering to vote in Michigan typically takes only a few minutes, but for those with questions, resources are available.
Here’s everything you need to know to vote in Michigan:
How to register to vote in Michigan
To vote in Michigan, you must be a US citizen who lives in Michigan. You must be at least 18 years old and have lived in your town or city for at least 30 days before voting. People currently serving in jail or prison are not eligible to register to vote.
People who are at least 17.5 years old and who will turn 18 by election day are eligible to register as long as they swear they won’t vote before turning 18.
The easiest way to register to vote is to visit Michigan.gov/VoterRegistration. Using your driver’s license, fill out the questionnaire about your address, your qualifications and other necessary details. Online, the process typically takes less than five minutes (not counting the time it takes to fish your driver’s licenses out of your wallet). Your clerk’s office will send along a registration card after they’ve processed your application.
There are also several options if you’d prefer to register in person. You can do that at your local Secretary of State office or at your county or city clerk’s office. You can also register at military recruitment centers, voter registration drives and the offices of several state agencies.
You can also register by mail, but you should make sure your registration application is postmarked at least 15 days before the election. In 2022, make sure it is in the mail at the latest by Halloween. To mail in your application, print it from the Secretary of State’s website and mail it directly to your city or township clerk. You can look up your clerk’s information at Michigan.gov/Vote.
An important thing to know about Michigan is that you can register to vote on Election Day, something that not all states offer. To do that, you will need to go to your city clerk’s office with proof of residency — your ID, a current utility bill or bank statement, or another government document with your address all work. You can register there at any point up until 8 pm on Election Day, which is when polls close.
How to get an absentee ballot in Michigan
In Michigan, anyone can vote absentee. You can request an absentee ballot (also called an absent voter ballot) online by visiting mvic.sos.state.mi.us/AVApplication/Index. There, you will confirm the information you gave when registering (much of which comes from your driver’s license) and where you’d like your ballot to be sent. The process takes roughly two minutes, the longest part of which is typing in your driver’s license number.
You can also get an application from your town or city clerk. You can visit in person to fill out an application and return it the same day. If you call, they will mail an application to you that you can mail back. You can also download the application and mail it to your clerk’s office. You can look up your clerk’s information at Michigan.gov/Vote.
If you do choose to request your absentee ballot online or by mail, make sure you do so before the deadline of 5 pm the Friday before Election Day. In 2022, that’s Nov. 4. Those who are already registered to vote at their current address can request an absentee ballot up until 4 pm on the day before the election.
Absentee ballot applications are also available in large print as well as in Arabic, Bengali and Farsi.
The Secretary of State’s office recommends mailing your absentee ballot as soon as possible to ensure it makes it to your city clerk on time. Absentee ballots must be received by 8 pm on Election Day and can be returned by hand. To avoid potential postal problems, it is recommended that people return their ballots by hand within two weeks of Election Day.
What is on my ballot in Michigan this year?
Statewide races include the race for governor and lieutenant, secretary of state and attorney general. Voters across the state will also choose the people who will represent their district in the US House of Representatives. You can read articles about those candidates on the politics page of The Detroit News’ website.
Voters will also be asked to weigh in on three proposals. Prop. 1 focuses on financial disclosures and term limits for legislators, Prop. 2 seeks to change some key election provisions, including requiring early in-person voting, and Prop. 3 asks voters about reproductive rights, including access to abortion and contraception. The specific text of each of those can be found at www.michigan.gov/sos/elections by clicking “upcoming elections,” followed by “Voter information” and “State candidates and proposals.”
State legislature seats, including state senator and state representative, will also be on the ballot, as will local races at the county and city level in some places. To look at a sample for your specific ballot, visit mvic.sos.state.mi.us/PublicBallot/Index and enter your specific information.
I want to vote in person. Where is my Michigan polling place?
To look up your polling place, you can visit the Michigan Voter Information Center, provided by the Secretary of State’s office, and search using your name, birthday and zip code or with your driver’s license number.
To check your polling place, visit mvic.sos.state.mi.us/Voter/Index. That is also where you can check your registration status, look at a sample of what your ballot will look like and track your absentee ballot.
Do I need an ID to vote in Michigan?
When you go to vote, poll workers will ask you to show your ID. But you can still vote without one.
Many different types of ID work — while Michigan driver’s licenses and state IDs are perhaps most commonly used, you can also bring a driver’s license from another state, any photo ID issued by the state or federal government, a passport, a military ID, a tribal identification card with photos or even a student ID from your high school or college.
If you do not have any of those, you will be asked to sign a form that confirms you did not have an ID. The Secretary of State’s office confirms on its website that even if you don’t have an ID, your ballot will still be counted with all others on Election Day.
Do I need to re-register to vote in Michigan if I moved?
If you are in an entirely new city or township, you need to re-register to vote with the state. If you moved within the same city or township, you need to update your local clerk but do not need to re-register with the state.
You can update your information online by visiting mvic.sos.state.mi.us/RegisterVoter/Index and filling out the form there.
Can students vote in Michigan?
yes If you’re a college student who lives in Michigan and goes to school here, pick whichever address you’d rather vote at. If you are a resident but attend school in a different state, you can register to vote at your Michigan home address . If you’re not originally from Michigan but go to school in the state, you can use your school address.