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    Voters urged to participate in presidential primary election

    FEB. 21, 2012 Image: Elections News

    Local issues on ballots in some communities

    Calling voting a right and a responsibility, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson is urging Michigan citizens to vote in the presidential primary election on Tuesday, Feb. 28.

    "I would urge all citizens who wish to do so to celebrate their freedom and make sure their voice is heard, their vote counts," said Johnson, Michigan's chief elections officer.

    This election, like all elections, is open to all registered voters. However, because this is a "closed primary," voters will be required to indicate which party's primary they wish to vote in, and they will then receive that party's ballot. Remember, voters do not need to be a registered member of a political party in order to cast a ballot.

    Communities in more than 50 counties are also holding special elections that day, such as asking voters to consider local ballot questions. Voters who wish only to vote in those elections may request a ballot that does not include presidential candidates.

    Polls are open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

    To obtain a sample ballot, determine whether you're registered to vote and find your polling place, you can visit the Michigan Voter Information Center at www.Michigan.gov/vote. People needing additional information can visit the Secretary of State's elections website at www.Michigan.gov/elections.

    There is still time for voters to obtain 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 out of town for the entire time the polls are 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.

    Voters who wish to receive their absentee ballot by mail must submit their application by 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25 and must indicate their political party ballot choice in writing (Republican ballot; Democratic ballot; or ballot without presidential primary, for jurisdictions with local issues on the ballot). Absentee ballots can be obtained in person from the voter's local clerk anytime through 4 p.m. Monday, Feb. 27. Voters who request an absentee ballot in person on Monday, Feb. 27, must vote the ballot in the clerk's office. Emergency absentee ballots are available under certain conditions through 4 p.m. on Election Day.

    Residents who registered to vote by mail or as part of a voter registration drive and have never voted in Michigan are not eligible to vote by absentee ballot in their first election. They must vote in person at their precinct. This restriction does not apply to voters who are overseas, disabled or 60 or older.

    Voters are reminded of Michigan's photo identification requirement. They will be asked to present photo ID at the polls, 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 can still vote. If the voter does not have a photo ID, the voter may sign a brief affidavit attesting to their identity. Their ballots will be included with all others and counted on Election Day.

    A specially equipped voting station called the AutoMARK Voter Assist Terminal is also available at each polling location for use by voters with disabilities.

    For more information about office locations and additional services, visit www.Michigan.gov/sos. Sign up for the official Secretary of State Twitter feed at www.twitter.com/Michsos and Facebook updates at www.facebook.com/Michigansos.

    Customers also may call the Department of State Information Center to speak to a customer-service representative at 888-SOS-MICH (767-6424).

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    For media questions, please call Gisgie Dávila Gendreau at 517-373-2520.

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