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How do I apply for an absentee ballot?
What do I need to apply for an absentee ballot? (Choose tab)
To securely request an absentee ballot online, you will need to provide the following information exactly as it is printed on your Michigan license or ID:
- Full name
- Driver’s license or ID number
- Date of birth
- Eye color
- Last four digits of your Social Security number
- Your mailing address
You must also verify that you are a U.S. citizen and authorize the Michigan Department of State to send the recorded digital signature from your license or ID to your local clerk with your application.
Note: To avoid potential mailing delays, it is strongly recommended that you request your absentee ballot online no later than 14 days prior to an election.
To request an absentee ballot by mail, download, complete, and sign a Michigan Absent Voter Ballot Application. Then, return the signed application to your local city, township, or village clerk’s office by mail or via email as a scanned attachment.
Note: To avoid potential mailing delays, it is strongly recommended that submit your absentee ballot application to your local clerk’s office no later than 14 days prior to an election.
While eligible citizens can register to vote at a self-service station, you cannot request an absentee ballot at one of the machines.
To request an absentee ballot in person, visit your city, township, or village clerk’s office to request or drop off your signed and completed Michigan Absent Voter Ballot Application.
If requesting an absentee ballot within 14 days of an election, you may also visit your local clerk’s office to request and complete absentee ballot anytime up to 4 p.m. the Monday before Election Day.
Returning your absentee ballot
Your signed and completed absentee ballot must be returned by 8 p.m. on Election Day to be tabulated. There are three ways to do so:
- Designated drop box: Return your absentee ballot to a secured absentee ballot drop box in your city, township, or village by 8 p.m. on Election Day.
- At your local clerk’s office: Return your absentee ballot by hand to your local clerk’s office by 8 p.m. on Election Day. Check your clerk’s office website for their office hours.
- By mail: To avoid potential mailing delays, it is strongly recommended that you mail your absentee ballot no later than 14 days prior to Election Day.
If you requested an absentee ballot but decide to vote in person instead, you can surrender your incomplete absentee ballot at your designed polling place on Election Day and request a new ballot.
Changing your vote
If you would like to change your vote after returning your completed and signed absentee ballot to your local clerk's office, you can "spoil" the original ballot by requesting a new ballot.
- Spoiling a ballot that has already been submitted: Your written and signed request must be received by your local clerk’s office by 5 p.m. the Friday before Election Day.
- Spoiling a ballot that has not yet been submitted: Your written and signed request must be received in person by your local clerk’s office by 4 p.m. the Monday before Election Day.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
How do I request an accessible absentee ballot?
Voters with disabilities can submit an accessible absent voter ballot application at Michigan.gov/Vote. When you request an accessible absentee ballot, you will be emailed an electronic ballot and can mark the ballot on an electronic device, using your own assistive technology, and print and mail or otherwise return the ballot to your local clerk by 8 p.m. on Election Day.
You can also download an accessible application to vote absentee and submit it to your local clerk’s office by mail, email, or in person. Or, visit your local clerk’s office to request an absentee ballot in person.
Accessible absentee ballot application
Who can request an absentee ballot?
Any registered Michigan voter who is at least 18 years old and is not currently serving a sentence in jail or prison may apply for an absentee ballot without providing a reason.
When will I get my absentee ballot in the mail?
You can securely track the mailing and receipt of your absentee ballot application and absentee ballot through Michigan.gov/Vote. If you have questions about the mailing or receipt of your application or absentee ballot, contact your local clerk’s office.
Can I vote absentee in every election?
Yes, eligible registered Michigan voters may request and cast their vote by absentee ballot in any election. As a registered Michigan voter, you can also sign up for the Permanent Absentee Voter List to automatically receive an absentee ballot application before every election.
You may sign up for the Permanent Absentee Voter List anytime at Michigan.gov/Vote or when completing a Michigan Absent Voter Ballot Application by mail or at your local clerk’s office.
Am I required to vote by absentee ballot?
While all registered and eligible Michigan voters can request and vote by absentee ballot in any election, you are not required to vote by absentee ballot, even if you request and receive one. All registered and eligible Michigan voters still have the option to vote in person at their designated polling location on Election Day instead.
If you request and receive an absentee ballot ahead of an election but would prefer to vote in person, bring your absentee ballot with you to your polling place on Election Day to surrender and/or spoil it. If your absentee ballot was lost or damaged and you plan to vote in person instead, you must provide a written and signed statement.
What security preventions are in place to ensure someone doesn't vote in another person's name?
In Michigan, absentee ballots are not counted until a voter has twice provided signatures matching the one on file with their local election clerk – first on their application and then on their absentee ballot envelope. Ballots are rejected when they lack a matching signature. Similarly, upon arriving at a polling place, voters are asked to provide photo ID or sign an affidavit confirming their identity and eligibility to vote.
Voting in another person’s name is illegal – regardless of if it is the other person’s maiden name or the person has died or moved. Charges are brought against people who attempt to apply for the ballot of someone else – and those applications are rejected.
Anyone with evidence of voter fraud should report it to law enforcement in writing so that it can be investigated and referred for prosecution.