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Student voting

Diverse group of students taking a selfie

Student voting

Student voters

College and university students attending school in Michigan, or Michigan residents attending school in another state, have options for voting!

This section provides information about participating in elections as a student, and information about student voter initiatives.

Student voting information

Check your registration status: Many Michigan residents are registered to vote when receiving a state ID or driver’s license. Student voters should always check their registration status before voting.

Check your voter registration status

Register early and online: Students are strongly encouraged to register to vote early and online. For voter registration options and requirements, please visit Michigan.gov/VoterRegistration. To vote in the upcoming election, students can register to vote online up to until 15 days before Election Day.

Learn more about how to register to vote

Register on Election Day: Within 14-days of an election, and on Election Day, student voters must register in person at their local clerk’s office and must present two pieces of proof of residency.

Student voters must be in line by 8 p.m. on Election Day at their local clerk’s office to register to vote and cast an absentee ballot. Proof of residency is an official document that has a voter’s current name and address listed on it.

Examples include:

  • A valid Michigan driver’s license or state ID
  • Any document issued by a Michigan high school, college, or university, or other educational institution, including:
    • A webpage on your university student portal displaying your name and on-campus address (ex. Wolverine Access, StuInfo, Academica, CentralLink, GoWMU)
    • Financial aid documents
    • University registration forms
  • A bank or credit card statement
  • Utility bill (including gas, electric, internet, lease, or rental agreement).

Learn more about voter registration options

Learn more about proof of residency

Choosing or updating a voter registration address: Students must decide whether they want to register to vote at their student address or at their permanent hometown address. This impacts which jurisdiction they will vote in.

Student voters should make sure their voter registration address is up to date before voting. Student voters are permitted to change their address again or restore it to their permanent home address whenever they choose.

Updating a voter registration address also updates a voter’s driver’s license or state ID address, which could impact things like insurance rates.

Learn more about updating your voter registration address

Learn what’s on the ballot: Nonpartisan voter resources, such as Vote411.org, offer easy to understand explanations of what’s on the ballot. Student voters can also view a preview of their ballot at Michigan.gov/Vote.

Early voting: Student voters have the option to vote early and in person at an early voting for all statewide and federal elections. Early voting is a great option for students who may be too busy to vote on Election Day.

Absentee voting: An absentee ballot allows student voters to receive a ballot in the mail and complete it at their own pace. Absentee voting is a great option for students who prefer to keep their hometown address as their permanent address but aren’t able to travel to that address to vote in person.

Student voters can request an absentee ballot by applying online at Michigan.gov/Vote. Students registered at their campus address can also visit a local clerk’s office, or an on-campus satellite office, to request and/or submit an absentee ballot.

For more information, including deadlines and options for returning an absentee ballot, visit Michigan.gov/VotebyMail.

Learn more about absentee voting

Election Day voting: Students already registered to vote: Students registered to vote at their current Michigan address can visit Michigan.gov/Vote to look up their polling place.

Students NOT already registered to vote OR who have not updated their voter registration address: Unregistered student voters, and student voters who aren’t registered at their current address in Michigan, have until 8 p.m. on Election Day to visit their local clerk’s office to register to vote, and to request an absentee ballot.

Student must present two forms of proof of residency when registering and requesting an absentee ballot in person. Unregistered student voters in line by 8 p.m. will be permitted to register to vote and cast an absentee ballot.

Learn more about voting on Election Day

Michigan residents attending school in another state

Students who maintain a permanent home address in Michigan while attending school in another state have the option to vote in Michigan elections by voting with an absentee ballot. Students may also choose to register and vote at their out-of-state campus address but may only vote in one state during a single election.

To learn more about absentee voting, view the student voting options tab. For nonpartisan information about voting options and requirements in other states, visit Vote411.org.

Visit Vote411.org

Out-of-state students attending school in Michigan

Students who maintain a permanent home address in another state while attending a college or university in Michigan have the option to vote in Michigan elections by registering at their campus address.

To learn more about voter registration options in Michigan, view the student voter registration tab. To learn more about options for voting in Michigan, view the student voting options tab.

Students may choose to register and vote in their home state instead, depending on their home state’s voting requirements. For nonpartisan information about voting options and requirements in other states, visit Vote411.org.

Michigan students studying abroad

Students attending a college or university in Michigan, and who have a permanent home address or campus address in Michigan, have the option to vote in Michigan elections while studying abroad in a foreign country. To learn more about voting while overseas, visit the Military and Overseas voting section.

Learn more about Military and overseas voting

Parental voter education and assistance: Research shows that young adults are more likely to vote if a parent educates them about the voting process, and even more likely if a parent is an active voter themselves. Serving as a good role model for your children is critical to developing healthy, lifelong voting habits.

Here are a few points about parents and children when it comes to voting:

  • Young people aged 17.5 years may register to vote but must be 18 years old by Election Day to vote.
  • A parent cannot register their child to vote. It is also illegal for a parent to forge their child's signature on registration or ballot applications, or to request/complete their child's ballot.
  • Voters with disabilities may legally request assistance in completing election forms and ballots.
  • A parent is allowed to return their child's completed ballot to the clerk's office when asked to do so by the child.
  • Parents are free to discuss their political views with their children, except when they are within 100 feet of an early voting site or polling place, or inside an early voting site or polling place. Attempting to influence another person's vote, even if they are a family member, is considered electioneering and is against the law.
  • It is unlawful to attempt to bribe, menace, or use other corrupt means to influence a voter or deter them from voting.

What parents should know about voter registration: Parents should be aware that if their child registers to vote at a different address, such as their campus address, it also updates their child’s address of record for their Michigan driver’s license or state ID. This may potentially impact address dependent insurance coverage, and a parent’s ability to claim their child as a dependent for taxes.

Teens may register to vote when they are 17.5 years old in Michigan and do not need parental approval to do so. They must be 18 by Election Day in order to vote. Once a minor turns 18, the choice of where and how to vote is legally up to the voter.

Clerks who register young adults are not required to contact a parent for permission to register a young voter in their jurisdiction. Students who are registered to vote at their campus address always have the option to revert to their hometown address after the election.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

  • In addition to traditional forms of proof of residency, students can use electronic versions of college or university documents, or a page on their school portal, that displays their current address and full name.

    Learn more about proof of residency

  • No, voters should only use the ballot drop boxes in the jurisdiction where they are registered to vote. Drop boxes are not postal delivery boxes, and ballots returned to the wrong jurisdiction may not be counted.

    For more information about options, recommended dates, and legal deadlines for returning an absentee ballot, visit the absentee voting webpage.

    Learn more about returning an absentee ballot

  • No, you do not need to purchase stamps to return your absentee ballot. A return envelope with pre-paid postage is provided for voters who have requested an absentee ballot.

    Learn more about requesting an absentee ballot

    Learn more about returning an absentee ballot



Have more questions about voting as a student or young person? Email MDOS-StudentsVote@Michigan.gov.

Local campus resources