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Voting & Elections Toolkits

This guild is created by GODORT with full credit going to Kian Flynn and her associates

Voter Registration in Michigan


  • Age: 18 years of age by Election Day
  • Formerly incarcerated individuals: May vote if no longer incarcerated.
  • Citizenship: Must be a U.S. citizen
  • Residence: A resident of Michigan and the city or township where you are applying to register to vote for at least 30 days before election day
  • College students must vote at their ‘principal residence’ based on driver’s license address
  • Check to see if you are already registered

More information:,1607,7-127-1633_8716_8726_47669-175878--,00.html


  • Eligible citizens may register to vote up to 15 days before the election through mail. 
  • After this deadline, you can register at your city/township clerk’s office in person
  • February 24th, 2020 is the mail-in deadline for the primary election
  • October 19, 2020 is the deadline postmark for mail-in registration for the general election.
  • Guidelines:,1607,7-127-1633_8716_8726_47669-175878--,00.html

Election Calendar:,4670,7-127-1633_48760---,00.html

Online registration

Michigan does not offer online registration

Mail-in registration

Printable forms (in English):

Printable forms (in Spanish):

Refer to the box below for information about ID requirements.

Choosing a political party:   

Michigan does not register political party affiliation

Updating registration      

To update registration after a move or name change, use the voter registration form. If you update your driver’s license address, this will be automatically updated.

Cancelling registration

Voter registration can be cancelled upon written notice to the city/township clerk.


ID Requirements for Michigan Voters

Online Registration

Michigan does not offer online registration.

Mail-in Registration

An ID is not required for mail-in registration, but if you have not voted in Michigan before you will need to meet an identification requirement.  This can be met by entering your state issued driver license number or personal ID card number on the voter registration form

  • A photocopy of your driver's license or personal ID card
  • A photocopy of a paycheck stub, utility bill, bank document or government document that lists both your name and your address

In Person Registration

If you hand-deliver your application to the city/township clerk’s office, the staff person helping you will take your form and you don't need to do anything else.

ID Requirements for Voting

All Voters

By law, every Michigan voter must present picture identification at the polls, or sign an affidavit attesting that they are not in possession of picture identification.

Acceptable Forms of Photo Identification: 

If you do not have photo ID, you can still cast a ballot simply by signing an affidavit. The affidavit can be used by:

  • Voters who do not have acceptable photo ID
  • Voters who have photo ID but didn't bring it to the polls

Once you sign the affidavit, you may cast your ballot. It will be counted with all other ballots on Election Day.

More information:,4670,7-127-1633_8716-178123--,00.html

Casting a Ballot in Michigan

Important Dates

  • Primary Election: March 10, 2020
  • General Election: November 3, 2020
  • Early voting: Michigan does not allow early in-person voting.

Absentee voting,4670,7-127-1633_8716_8728-21037--,00.html

Opening/closing dates

  • Requests to have an absentee ballot mailed to you must be received by your clerk no later than 5pm the Friday before an election.
  • Absentee ballots for the November 3, 2020 general election will not be issued after October 30, 2020.
  • 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.

Military voters and voters who reside outside the U.S.

  • Ballot Requests must be received by 5pm the Friday before the election, but time should be allowed for mailing
  • Overseas ballots must be received by the Town Clerk by the close of the polls on election day in order to be counted.
  • Military and Overseas Absent Voter Ballot Application

Who is eligible to use an absentee ballot?

Due to the passage of the statewide ballot proposal 18-3, all eligible and registered voters in Michigan may now request an absent voter ballot without providing a reason.

Application for Absentee Ballot (English or Spanish):,4670,7-127-1633_8716_8728-21037--,00.html

Polling places and hours

  • Use the Polling Place Locator to find your polling place:
  • For a general election or primary, polls in Michigan are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. by time zone
  • Check with the County or Local Clerk regarding voting hours for referenda.
  • Time off to vote: Michigan does not require employers to give employees time off to vote.

Rides to the polls

Many organizations offer free rides to polling places. Some of these include:

  • Lyft ( provides free or discounted rides in some underserved communities
  • Political parties sometimes arrange rides for voters. Contact the local office:
    • Republican Party: 
    • Democratic Party: 

Help for disabled voters

  • Michigan Protection & Advocacy Service Inc. ( operates the Protection and Advocacy for Voting Access (PAVA) program.
  • All jurisdictions in Michigan are required to provide a ‘reasonable number of accessible facilities’  Contact your local clerk to find out if your voting site if free of obstructions and get information on alternative locations if required.


Sample ballots


Primaries vs. general elections

  • Primary elections are conducted to select each party’s candidates in the general election.
  • In Michigan, a voter must be a member of a political party in order to vote in that party’s primary.
  • In a general election, voters are not required to have a party affiliation.



Offices/Measures That May Appear on the Ballot

Federal (even years)

President/Vice-President (elected every four years; next election in 2020)

Senator (elected every six years for staggered terms; next election in 2020)

Representative (elected every two years)

State (even years)

Governor/Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, (elected every four years; next election in 2022)

State Senator (elected every two years)

State Representative (elected every two years)

State Supreme Court (2 seats)

Appellate Courts

Statewide ballot measures

State Board of Education (2 seats)

University of Michigan Board of Regents (2 seats)

Wayne State University Board of Governors (2 seats)

Municipal (varies)

School Board and other boards and commissions


Town or County Clerk

Village Council

Tax Collector


Local ballot measures

Who are the candidates, and what else is on the ballot?

Who conducts elections?

  • The Michigan Secretary of State is the Commissioner of Elections and oversees statewide and local elections
  • The City/Township Clerk maintains voter rolls for each municipality
  • City/Township Clerks prepare ballots and administer balloting for each municipality

Voter Bill of Rights

Michigan does not have a Voter Bill of Rights


Where to go with complaints about candidates or how elections are conducted

The Department of State can field complaints about Campaign Finance violations(,4670,7-127-1633_8723_64390---,00.html)

Campaign finance

The Campaign Finance Disclosure site from the Secretary of State (,4670,7-127-1633_8723---,00.html) provides access to candidates’ election committee and Political Action Committee campaign finance filings

General Resources on Voting and Elections

General Resources on Voting and Elections


1-866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683)

1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (en Español)

1-888-API-VOTE (Asian multilingual assistance)

Voter Registration & Election Day Resources

Find useful voter information including:

  • Local Election Office and Contact Information
  • Address, Telephone and Email for Local Election Offices
  • Upcoming Federal Election Dates and Deadlines
  • Upcoming State Election Dates and Deadlines
  • Eligibility Requirements
  • Identification Requirements
  • Voter Materials Transmission Options
  • State Lookup Tools – Am I Registered? Where’s my Ballot?

Population-Specific information and Resources

Voting Rights: Laws, Cases, Policy

Voter Engagement

Voter Education

Campaign Finance/Funding Information

Primary Sources, Lesson Plans & Exhibits


Librarians from the Government Documents Round Table (GODORT), a Round Table of the American Library Association (ALA), created these reference guides. These guides are intended for informational purposes only and are not in any way intended to be legal advice.