Voting in Michigan 101 - A Student Voter's Step-by-Step Guide

Welcome to the Michigan Department of State’s step-by-step guide for student voters in Michigan!

Here you’ll find a helpful guide on where, when, and how to vote in the state of Michigan.

If you have any additional questions or concerns, feel free to email us at Elections@Michigan.gov.


> JUMP TO STEP 1 - CHECK YOUR VOTER REGISTRATION 
> JUMP TO STEP 2 - REGISTER OR UPDATE YOUR ADDRESS
> JUMP TO STEP 3 - MAKE YOUR PLAN TO VOTE


>> STEP 1 – CHECK YOUR VOTER REGISTRATION STATUS

Visit Michigan.gov/Vote and select "Your voter information" to check your registration status

If you find you are already registered, you can move on to Step 3 - Make Your Plan to Vote.

If you still need to register or if you need to update your voter registration address, move on to Step 2.

 


>> STEP 2 – REGISTER OR UPDATE YOUR ADDRESS

As a student, you can register to vote at your school address OR your permanent home address. It's your choice. 

In Michigan, you can register up to and on Election Day! 

Students are strongly encouraged to register and vote as soon as possible and at least two weeks prior to Election Day – it’s easier, faster and helps to avoid lines and crowding at your local clerk’s office.

You can register to vote online at Michigan.gov/Vote with a state of Michigan driver’s license or state ID card. If you don’t have a Michigan ID or driver’s license, you can register with a paper form by visiting your city or township clerk’s office you can mailing your completed State of Michigan Voter Registration Application to your clerk. 

Note: From October 20 to November 3, 2020 you will need to register in person at a clerk’s office with additional residency documentation in order to vote in the Nov. 3 general election. 

For more details on how to register to vote, visit Michigan.gov/Vote and choose “Register to Vote” 

Election Day Registration Timeline

To determine how you should register to vote or update your voter registration address, use our Voter Registration Decision Tree and read more about available options below. 

Updating your voter registration address

If you have previously registered as a voter but have moved to a new address since registering, you will need to update your registration address. You can do this by resubmitting your voter registration with your updated address. To learn about the impact of updating your voter registration address on your driver’s license, financial aid and insurance, visit our Student Voting FAQ.  

 

Voter Registration Decision Tree


 

>> STEP 3 – MAKE YOUR PLAN TO VOTE

Voters in Michigan have options. Make your plan to cast your ballot using one of the options on this page. 

VOTE AT HOME (AKA ABSENTEE VOTING)

In Michigan, any registered voter can vote from home. This is also called voting by mail or absentee voting. You can used this online application if you have a valid Michigan driver's license or state ID card. . .

Requesting an AV ballot

REQUEST ONLINE: Visit Michigan.gov/Vote and select “Apply for an absentee ballot online” from the left menu. You can use this online application if you have a Michigan driver's license or state ID card.

REQUEST BY PAPER FORM: Download the absent voter ballot application and mail or email the completed application to your city or township clerk. To find your local clerk’s email and mailing address, visit Michigan.gov/Vote  and select “Your clerk” on the left menu.

NOTE: When you apply to vote absentee, you can choose to select the box titled  “Future elections: Complete to join permanent list” to receive an absentee voter ballot for every election. When filling out your application, be sure to fill it out completely – you must sign the application to get your ballot!

Receive and compete your ballot

Once you submit your application, your city or township clerk will mail you an AV ballot. When your ballot arrives, read it carefully and follow the instructions to complete it.

Return your ballot

There are several ways to return your AV ballot, listed below:

  • Mail it to your local clerk’s office. 

    To use this option, be sure to mail your ballot as soon as possible and at least two weeks before Election Day to make sure it arrives in time to be counted. 
     
  • Drop it off at your local clerk’s office.

    Double check you are taking your ballot to the correct clerk’s office or drop box for your jurisdiction! Look up your clerk by visiting Michigan.gov/Vote and selecting “Your clerk” on the left menu. 
     
  • Drop it off at an AV ballot drop-box. 

    You can drop off your ballot at a secure drop box maintained by your local clerk. Visit Michigan.gov/Vote to find your ballot drop box. You should ONLY drop off your AV ballot at your local clerk’s office drop box.

    If you are an out-of-state student attending school in Michigan, and you are voting in your home state election using an absentee voter ballot, DO NOT place your ballot in a drop box. You will need to mail your ballot to your home state clerk’s office.

  • Take your AV ballot to your polling location on Election Day. 

    If you have been issued an absent voter ballot but decide you would prefer to vote in person at your polling location, you can turn in, or “surrender,” your AV ballot at your local polling location on Election Day.  Upon arrival, you can tell a poll worker of your decision to surrender the absentee ballot, hand them your ballot and then ask to be issued a ballot to vote.

 

Ballots MUST be received by your local clerk BY 8 PM ON ELECTION DAY to be counted. 

To find your local clerk’s office, visit Michigan.gov/Vote  and select “Your clerk” on the left menu.

To learn more about the security of absentee voting, or voting by mail, visit our Student Absentee Voting FAQ.
 

Tracking your ballot

You can track the status of your ballot by visiting Michigan.gov/Vote and selecting “Your voter information” from the menu bar at the top of the page. Follow the prompts to search for your voter information and you will find a panel with information on when your ballot was requested, sent, and received.
 

VOTE IN-PERSON

On Election Day

Vote in person at your polling location on Election Day.
 

Voting In-Person Early

You can vote in-person early by visiting your local clerk's office or satellite office. There, you can vote, complete your ballot, and return it all in one trip.

You can find your local clerk's office and hours at Michigan.gov/Vote.


Find your polling location

To find your polling location, visit Michigan.gov/Vote and select “Your voter information” from the menu bar at the top of the page. Follow the prompts to search for your voter information. You will find the address for your polling place.

To vote at a polling place on Election Day, you must visit your assigned polling location – if you visit a different polling location, you will not be able to vote there.