Secretary of State Ruth Johnson is urging Michigan citizens to vote in local elections Tuesday, May 8.

May 1, 2012 Image: Elections News

Absentee ballots available for those who qualify

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson is urging Michigan citizens to vote in local elections Tuesday, May 8.

"I encourage you to cast a ballot, as you have the opportunity to be heard on issues that affect local school districts, cities and community colleges," said Johnson, Michigan's chief elections officer. "Every vote counts, and your vote could make all the difference."

Communities and school districts in 70 counties are holding local elections. To find out if there is an election in their community, voters can visit www.Michigan.gov/elections or check with their county clerk's office. In addition, the Michigan Voter Information Center can help residents determine whether they're registered to vote and direct them to their polling location. The website is www.Michigan.gov/vote. Polls are open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day.

There is still time for voters who qualify 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, May 5. Absentee ballots can be obtained in person from the voter's local clerk anytime through 4 p.m. Monday, May 7. Voters who request an absentee ballot in person on Monday, May 7, 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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