Voter registration deadline nears for February presidential primary
JAN. 19, 2012
Secretary Johnson encourages participation in upcoming election
Secretary of State Ruth Johnson reminds residents that they have until Monday, Jan. 30 to register in order to vote in the Feb. 28 presidential primary election.
"This year will present Michigan residents with important choices at the voting booth, whether they're voting for president or local offices," said Johnson, Michigan's chief election officer. "I encourage everyone who is not yet registered to do so in order to participate in one of the foundations of our democracy, and that is casting a ballot."
The polls will be open on Election Day from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
To register, applicants must be at least 18 years old by Election Day and be U.S. citizens. Applicants must also be residents of Michigan and of the city or township in which they wish to register.
Voters may register by mail, at their county, city or township clerk's office or by visiting any Secretary of State office. The mail-in form is available at www.Michigan.gov/elections. First-time voters who register by mail must vote in person in their first election, unless they hand-deliver the application to their local clerk, are 60 years old or older, are disabled or are eligible to vote under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act.
To check their registration status, residents may visit the Michigan Voter Information Center at www.Michigan.gov/vote.
Residents can also find information there on absentee voting,
Michigan's voter identification requirement, how to use voting equipment and how to contact their local clerk. In addition, they will find a map to their local polling place.
Voters who qualify may choose to cast an absentee ballot. As a registered voter, you may obtain an absentee ballot if you are:
- age 60 or older.
- physically unable to attend the polls without the assistance of another.
- expecting to be absent from the community in which you are registered for the entire time the polls will be open on Election Day.
- in jail awaiting arraignment or trial.
- unable to attend the polls due to religious reasons.
- appointed to work as an election inspector in a precinct outside of your precinct of residence.
Those who wish to receive their absentee ballot by mail must submit their application by 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25. Absentee ballots can be obtained in person anytime through 4 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 27. Voters who request an absentee ballot in person on Monday, Feb. 27 must fill out the ballot in the clerk's office. Emergency absentee ballots are available under certain conditions through 4 p.m. on Election Day.
The February election, like all elections, is open to all registered voters. Michigan does not require voters to register as a member or supporter of a political party, so voters can choose to participate in either the Democratic or Republican party primary. By state law, this is called a 'closed primary.' When voters request an absentee ballot or arrive at the polls and fill out their application to vote, they must indicate in which party's primary they wish to vote. They will then receive a ballot listing candidates for that party. That ballot will also contain any special election issues. Some communities will have additional items on the ballot aside from the presidential primary election. Sample ballots will be available online at www.Michigan.gov/vote. Note: The Aug. 7 primary will be an open primary, and voters will not be required to formally indicate their choice for a specific political party ballot.
Voters who wish only to vote in the special election may request a ballot that does not include presidential candidates.
As a reminder, voters will be asked to provide identification when at the polls on Election Day. They will be asked to present valid photo ID, such as a Michigan driver's license or identification card. Anyone who does not have an acceptable form of photo ID or failed to bring it with them to the polls can still vote. They will be required to sign a brief affidavit stating that they're not in possession of photo ID. Their ballots will be included with all others and counted on Election Day.
Voters who don't have a Michigan driver's license or identification card can show the following forms of photo ID, as long as they are current:
Driver's license or personal identification card issued by another state.
Federal or state government-issued photo identification.
Military identification card with photo.
Student identification with photo from a high school or an accredited institution of higher education, such as a college or university.
Tribal identification card with photo.
Additional election information can be found at www.Michigan.gov/elections.
For more information about voting and the Secretary of State's Office, visit www.Michigan.gov/SOS. Sign up for the official Twitter feed at www.twitter.com/MichSOS and Facebook updates at www.facebook.com/MichiganSOS.
For media questions, please call Gisgie Dávila Gendreau at 517-373-2520.