Frequently Asked Questions
Who may register to vote?
- A U.S. citizen
- At least 18 years old by election day
- A resident of Michigan and the city or township where you are applying to vote
When may I register to vote?
At any time, however, you must be registered at least 30 days before an
election in order to vote in that election.
Do I have to register for each election?
NO. Registration is permanent as long as you continue to live in the city or township where you are registered.
You may register by appearing in person at:
- Any of the 178 Secretary of State branch offices located throughout the state.
- Your city or township clerk's office.
- Your county clerk's office.
- Any Family Independence Agency office.
- Specified agencies providing services through the FIA, Department of Community Health or Michigan Jobs Commission that offer voter registration services to their clients.
May I register to vote by mail?
YES. However, individuals who register to vote by mail must vote in person in the first election following their registration. To register by mail, fill out the voter registration form, and then mail it to your city or township clerk.
What should I do if I have moved within my city or township of residence or changed my name since the last election?
You should immediately notify the clerk of your city or township of your
What should I do if I move to another city or township within the state?
Can I vote by absentee ballot?
If you are a registered voter, you may vote absentee if:
- You are 60 years of age or more.
- You expect to be absent from the community in which you are registered to vote for the entire time the polls are open on election day.
- You are unable to go to the polls and vote without the assistance of another person.
- You cannot attend the polls because of your religious beliefs.
- You have been appointed as an election inspector in a precinct other than the one in which you reside.
- You are confined in jail or prison awaiting arraignment or trial.
How do I apply for an absent voter ballot?
You can obtain an absent voter ballot by writing to the clerk
of the city or township in which you are registered to vote. You may
obtain an absentee ballot application online here (absentee
ballot application). Ballots cannot be supplied through telephone
requests. Your written request must include:
- Your name.
- The date of the election.
- The address where you are registered to vote.
- The reason why you are requesting an absent voter ballot.
The address where you wish to receive your ballot.
(This must be your registration address, an address outside of your jurisdiction of registration, a hospital, or some other type of residential institution.)
- Your signature and the date of your request.
Blank absent voter ballot applications can be obtained through your city or township clerk or may be printed off our website ( absentee ballot application ). Members of the armed forces and their spouses and dependents, members of the Merchant Marine and their spouses and dependents, and U.S. citizens temporarily living or traveling outside the territorial limits of the United States may use a Federal Post Card Application to obtain an absent voter ballot. U.S. Citizens temporarily living or traveling outside of the territorial limits of the United States must sign the Federal Post Card Application under oath to obtain an absent voter ballot. Anyone else eligible to use the federal form is not required to sign it under oath to obtain an absent voter ballot. Completed absent voter ballot applications should be returned to your city or township clerk.
When must the ballot be returned?
Where do I vote?
If you do not know the location of your polling place, check with your
city or township clerk.
When are the polls open?
In Michigan the polls are open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on election
What is the voting procedure?
The procedure involves three steps:
1. You sign an Application to Vote.
2. An election inspector checks your name against the list of registered voters for the precinct.
3. You vote.
Procedures vary according to the type of equipment used in your city or township. Poll workers will provide information on voting procedures if you request it before you enter the voting station. Poll workers are not allowed to tell you how to vote, nor may they attempt to influence your vote in any way.
What should I do if my name does not appear on the list of registered voters at my polling place?
Answer any questions the election inspectors may ask in attempting to confirm your registration. Also contact your city or township clerk to confirm voter registration.
May I receive assistance when voting?
Any elector may request voting assistance from the precinct board without
stating a reason, in which case two inspectors (one from each political
party), will render assistance. If you need assistance because you are
blind, disabled or unable to read or write, you may ask anyone (except your
employer, an agent of your employer or an officer or agent of your union) to
give you assistance.
May I take campaign literature into the polling place?
Yes, as long as the articles are for your personal use and you do not
distribute or display them to other voters in the polling place. In
addition, you may not leave any materials in the polling place.
Election Day Procedures
Is there a difference between a primary and general election?
A primary election is held by the political parties to select their nominees for the offices to be elected at the upcoming general election. In a primary, Republicans run against Republicans and Democrats run against other Democrats. And, of course, if other parties qualify to appear on the primary ballot, their candidates run against each other as well. In a primary you vote on only one party's ticket.
A general election is between party nominees and any candidates
without political party affiliation. The general election determines which
candidates will occupy the offices that are up for election. Statewide
ballot proposals also appear on the general election ballot.
Is campaigning allowed on election day?
YES! as long as it is done at least 100 feet from any door used by voters to enter or exit the building in which the polls are located.