Primary Election Day
General Election Day
There are several ways to register to vote described below. Regardless of the method you use to register to vote, these are the steps:
- Verify you are eligible (US citizen; at least 18 years old by election day.)
- Fill out your application completely and accurately.
- Submit your application.
- The city/township clerk processes application.
- Registration is complete! Watch your mail for your new Voter Identification card!
How to Vote
Automatic Voter Registration
Michigan now offers both automatic and online voter registration, in addition to traditional methods.
If you are eligible to vote when applying for a Driver’s License, Driver’s License Renewal, or personal ID card, you will automatically be registered to vote. An opt-out box is provided, in the event you do not want to be automatically registered. Only U.S. citizens will be registered to vote.
Online Voter Registration
If you are eligible to vote, you may register online through this link: Michigan.gov/VoterRegistration
Note: Be sure to have your driver’s license or State ID and social security numbers handy when you go online to register.
Other Ways to Register to Vote
- In person, at your city or township clerk’s office or your county clerk’s office.
- At any state agency that provides public assistance or services to people with disabilities.
- By mailing in a completed voter registration application postmarked at least 2 weeks prior to the next election (see MI SOS for Election deadlines.)
- Through a voter registration drive.
- At any LWVKA Voter Registration table!
When to Register to Vote
You may register at any time, up to 8 p.m. on Election Day, at your city or township clerk’s office.
In the 14 days before an election, you will need to register to vote in person at a city or township clerk’s office with proof of residency. Any of the following documents will be acceptable:
- Michigan driver’s license or state ID
- Current utility bill
- Bank statement
- Paycheck or government check
- Other government document
If it is more than two weeks before an election, your completed paper voter registration application will have a postmark deadline, allowing you to vote in the next election.
Please visit MI SOS (Michigan Secretary of State,) during the election cycle, for exact deadlines for each election. No proof of residency is required if registering to vote at least 15 days before an election.
Where to Register to Vote:
- Your local Secretary of State branch office
- Your local county, city, or township clerk’s office
- Offices of several state agencies, like the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Community Health, and the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
- Military recruitment centers
- Voter registration drives by League of Women Voters or other organizations
- Register online at Michigan Voter Information Center
- Download the Voter Registration Application at www.Michigan.gov/sos Complete it and mail it to your city or township clerk’s office.
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.
Am I Eligible to Vote?
To be eligible to vote, you must be:
- A Michigan resident (at the time you register) and a resident of your city or township for at least 30 days (when you vote.)
- A United States citizen.
- Will be at least 18 years of age when you vote. (You may register at age 17.5, as long as you will be 18 years old on or before election day.)
- Not currently serving a sentence in jail or prison.
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 voter registration 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 the voter registration 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.
Where Do I Vote?
You should vote on Election Day at the polling location for your local precinct.
If you are registering to vote on Election Day, you may vote at your city/township’s office using an Absent Voter Ballot or you can vote in your local precinct. You may also cast your vote by mailing or dropping off an Absent Voter Ballot at your clerk’s office before 8 p.m. on Election Day.
Voting as a Student
If you are from Michigan and go to school in Michigan:
Register to vote at your school address or your home address.
If you are from Michigan and go to a school outside the state:
Register to vote at your home address in Michigan.
(See below to Request an Absentee Ballot)
If you are not from Michigan but go to school here:
Register to vote at your school address in Michigan and vote in Michigan.
Check if your state has Vote-by-Mail or No-Excuse Absentee Voting.
If so, register at your home address and vote by mail or request an Absentee Ballot from your home state.
If you have a Michigan driver’s license or state ID card, and you are registered to vote in Michigan, your Voter Registration address and the address on your ID must match. To make sure these addresses match, be sure to change your address when you move by going to MI_SOS .
If you change the address on either your Voter Registration or ID, it will automatically change the other. The Secretary of State will mail you a sticker with your new address to place on your license or ID card.
All registered voters in Michigan may vote using what’s called an Absent Voter Ballot. You don’t need an excuse or a reason. You will need to complete an Application for an Absent Voter Ballot and return it to your city/township clerk.
The clerk will in turn send you a ballot and you can vote by absentee ballot through the mail, without leaving your home. If you prefer, you can return the absentee ballot to your city or township clerk’s office or drop box.
To avoid possible postal delays, we recommend you return a ballot to the clerk’s office or a dropbox if it is approximately 15 days before the election. Please check MI SOS for deadlines pertaining to the current election.
Request an Absentee Ballot
Complete an online Application for Absent Voter Ballot: Michigan.gov/Vote
Download an application online:
- Fillable PDF (Fill out on a computer and print.)
- Print and Fill PDF (Print and complete in writing.)
- Request a Large Print Application
Call your city or township clerk to have an Application for an Absent Voter Ballot sent to you
Visit your local city or township clerk for an application
Accessible Ballots for Voters with Disabilities
Online and mail requests for an absent voter ballot must be received by your township or city clerk no later than 5 p.m. the Friday before the election. If you are 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 and vote an absentee ballot at the clerk’s office at the same time.
If you’re registering to vote 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 Absent Voter Ballot on Election Day, you can vote the ballot in the clerk’s office or go to vote in your precinct.
If you moved between a city and a township or between two cities or two townships since the last election, you will need to re-register to vote in the city or township where you currently reside. You can do this up to 8 p.m. on Election Day and, as noted above, you can request an Absent Voter Ballot at the same time you register. You will then be able to vote the ballot in the clerk’s office or go to your new precinct to vote.
Did my ballot reach the clerks’ office?
All registered voters can track their ballot by looking up their information in the voter information section of the MI SOS website.
What if I have an emergency on Election Day?
If an emergency, like 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.
I submitted my ballot. Can I change my vote?
If a voter has already voted absentee and wishes to change their vote (because the candidate has dropped out of the race, or for any other reason), a voter can spoil their ballot by submitting a written request to their city or township clerk.
- The voter must sign the request and state if they would like a new absentee ballot mailed to them or if they will pick it up in person at the clerk’s office.
- This request must be received by 5 p.m. the Friday before the election if received by mail. An absentee ballot that has been returned to the clerk may be spoiled in person at the clerk’s office until 10 a.m. the Monday prior to the election. An absentee ballot that has not been returned to the clerk may be spoiled in person at the clerk’s office until 4 p.m. the Monday prior to the election.
- If a voter has not returned his or her absentee ballot, the voter can surrender the ballot or sign an Affidavit stating that the ballot was lost or destroyed. A poll worker will call the clerk’s office to confirm that the absentee ballot has not been received and the voter’s record is flagged in case the absentee ballot is returned on Election Day. Following that process, the voter is permitted to vote in the precinct. There is no option on Election Day to spoil an absentee ballot that has been received by the clerk.
Voting in Person on Election Day
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day.
At the polling location, each eligible voter will be asked to complete an Application to Vote. Their photo ID will be reviewed. If a photo ID is not available, the voter may complete the Affidavit on the back of the Application to Vote, and proceed to vote.
The voter’s name will be located in the e-poll book and a Ballot Number and Voter Number assigned.
The Voter will take the ballot in a secrecy sleeve to a voting station to complete voting in private.
The Voter will then take the ballot in its secrecy sleeve to the Tabulator and insert it for counting.
This page was updated on 4/10/2021.