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A Primary Election is held by 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. During a Primary voters may choose only one party to vote for.
A regular State Primary Election is held in August of every even year. Special primary elections are held as needed.
The General Election determines which candidates will occupy the offices that are up for election. In partisan races, candidates that were nominated at the Primary election compete for races along with any candidates without political party affiliation. Nonpartisan races typically appear on the General Election ballot as well, such as judicial, school and library board races.
A regular General Election is held in November of every even year. Special general elections are held as needed.
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To be eligible to register to vote you must be:
If you want to check to see if you are registered visit Michigan.gov/Vote. There you will find information about registering to vote and voting, voting equipment, polling place locations, sample ballots, and more.
You can register to vote when you are age 17 1/2. You may register to vote in person, by mail, or online at Michigan.gov/VoterRegistration up to 15 days prior to an election. Voters may also register in-person at their City or Township Clerk’s office within 14 days of an election, up to and including Election Day. A voter registering in the final 14 days, including Election Day, will need to show proof of residency in addition to proof of identity (or an ID that proves both. NOTE: Only voters registering in the final 14 days must show proof of residency while registering.
You may obtain the application at one of the following:
Michigan law states that the same address must be used for voter registration and driver’s license purposes. That means, if the residence address you provide on the application differs from the address shown on a driver’s license or personal identification card issued by the state of Michigan, the Secretary of State will automatically change your driver’s license or personal ID card address to match the residence address entered on this form. If a change is made, the Secretary of State will mail you an address update sticker for your driver’s license or personal ID card.
If you are living outside the U.S., you may send a Federal Postcard Application to register to vote. This application is distributed through U.S. embassies and military bases. It also serves as a way to request an absentee ballot.
No, registration is permanent as long as you continue to live in the city or township where you are registered.
If you move, you must submit a voter registration application to change your address or do so online at Michigan.gov/Vote.
Yes. You may register to vote by mail up to the 15th day prior to the election. To register by mail, fill out the voter registration form (PDF), and then mail it to your city or township clerk. Your application must be postmarked by the 15th day prior to the election. After that date you must register to vote in-person at your City or Township Clerk’s office.
If you have never registered to vote in Michigan and choose to mail in your application, you will need to meet an identification requirement. This means you must:
NEVER SEND AN ORIGINAL DOCUMENT!
Your city or township clerk will send you a voter registration card upon processing your application. The card will show where you vote on Election Day. You’re not required to show the registration card when you vote.
For directions and a map to your polling place, visit www.Michigan.gov/vote.
You should submit a voter registration application to the clerk of your city or township of your residence with the updated information so the Clerk can update your voter record. You may submit your change of address online at Michigan.gov/vote.
You must re-register with the clerk in your new city or township of residence.
Absent Voter ballots are available to registered voters for all elections. They provide a convenient method for casting a ballot when a voter is unable to attend the polls on election day. Voters do not need a reason to request an Absent Voter Ballot.
See here for more information on how to obtain an Absent Voter Ballot.
Requesting an Absent Voter Ballot
NEW! Sign Up to Receive an Absent Voter Ballot APPLICATION by Mail Prior to Every Election
VOTE BY MAIL – All registered voters have the right to vote by mail. Apply online or download an application at https://mvic.sos.state.mi.us/avapplication
You can use this program to apply for an absent voter ballot or an accessible electronic absent voter ballot for upcoming elections in Michigan. To use the State’s website to make your request online, you need to be registered to vote in Michigan and have a valid Michigan driver’s license or state ID. If you need to register to vote, click on "Registering To Vote." If you don’t have a Michigan driver’s license or state ID but you are registered to vote, click on "Absentee Voting" for more information on how you can apply for an absent voter ballot.
Alternatively, your request for an absent voter ballot can be submitted to your city or township clerk (for assistance in obtaining the address of your city or township clerk, see Michigan.gov/Vote). You can request an absent voter ballot by submitting the application, large print application, a letter, a postcard, or a pre-printed application form obtained from your local clerk’s office. Requests may be returned by hand, via postal mail, fax, or email, as long as a signature is visible.
Requests to have an absent voter ballot mailed to you must be received by your clerk no later than 5 p.m. the Friday before the election. If you’re already registered at your current address, you can request an absent voter ballot in person at your clerk’s office anytime up to 4 p.m. on the day prior to the election. If you’re registering to vote or updating your address by appearing at your clerk’s office on Election Day, you can request an absent voter ballot at the same time you register. If you request your AV ballot the day before the election or on Election Day, you must vote the ballot in the clerk’s office.
Once your request is received by the local clerk, your signature on the request will be checked against your voter registration record before a ballot is issued. You must be a registered voter to receive an absent voter ballot, but you can register and apply for an absent voter ballot at the same time. Requests for absent voter ballots are processed immediately. Absent voter ballots may be issued to you at your home address or any address outside of your city or township of residence.
After receiving your absent voter ballot, you have until 8 p.m. on Election Day to complete the ballot and return it to the clerk’s office. Your ballot will not be counted unless your signature is on the return envelope and matches your signature on file. If you received assistance voting the ballot, then the signature of the person who helped you must also be on the return envelope. Only you, a family member or person residing in your household, a mail carrier, or election official is authorized to deliver your signed absent voter ballot to your clerk’s office.
If an emergency, such as a sudden illness or family death prevents you from reaching the polls on Election Day, you may request an emergency absent voter ballot. Requests for an emergency ballot must be submitted after the deadline for regular absent voter ballots has passed but before 4 p.m. on Election Day. The emergency must have occurred at a time which made it impossible for you to apply for a regular absent voter ballot. Please contact your local clerk for more information about emergency absent voter ballots.
Your completed absent voter ballot must be received by your city or township clerk’s office no later than 8 p.m. on the date of the election. Make sure you sign the return envelope before delivering it to the clerk.
Visit Michigan.gov/vote and enter your information.
If you do not know the location of your polling place visit Michigan.gov/vote or check with your city or township clerk.
In Michigan the polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day.
The procedure involves these steps:
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.
Answer any questions the Poll Workers may ask in attempting to confirm your registration. You may also contact your city or township clerk to confirm voter registration.
Confirm where you are registered to vote and where your polling location is at: Michigan.gov/Vote.
You may vote your ballot independently without the assistance of another person using the accessible Voter Assist Terminal present in your polling location.
You may request voting assistance from Poll Workers present in the polling location without stating a reason, in which case two Poll Workers (one representing each major 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 marking your ballot.
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.
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.
Campaign literature, apparel, buttons, stickers, etc. are not allowed within the polling location.
Voters are allowed to take a photograph of their own ballot but only while they are within the voting booth. Prohibitions on individuals include: