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Elections and voting

  • To register to vote in Michigan you must be:

    • A resident of Michigan and the city or township where you are applying to register to vote for at least 30 days before Election Day. 
    • A citizen of the United State of America
    • At least 18 years of age (by Election Day). 
    • Not serving a sentence in jail or prison. 
  • Complete the mail-in voter registration form and mail it to the address indicated on the form.

    If you have never voted in Michigan and register by mail, you may be subject to an additional identification requirement provided under federal law. The identification requirement can be met by providing your Michigan driver’s license number or last four digits of your Social Security number on the mail-in form or sending a copy of any current and valid photo identification or a copy of a paycheck, government check, utility bill, bank statement or a government document which lists your name and address with the registration form. If you do not fulfill this requirement at the time of registration, you may provide one of the previously listed items at the polls on Election Day to complete the process. If you vote by mail, you may provide a copy of one of the previously listed items with your absentee ballot application or absentee ballot.

  • The office is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding state holidays.

    The City of Lansing provides both metered parking and public parking ramps. Metered parking is available along the south side of Allegan Steet and throughout the downtown area.

  • Voters will be asked to present an acceptable photo ID, including:

    • Michigan driver's license or state-issued ID card
    • Driver's license or personal identification card issued by another state
    • Federal or state government-issued photo identification
    • U.S. passport
    • Military ID with photo
    • Student identification with photo from a high school or accredited institution of higher learning
    • Tribal identification card with photo

    The ID does not need to include the voter’s address.

    Please note that voters who do not have an acceptable form of ID or failed to bring it with them to the polls still can cast a ballot and will be asked to sign a brief affidavit stating that they're not in possession of a photo ID.

  • Michigan residents who are at least 16 years old, a U.S. citizen, and are not currently serving a sentence in jail or prison may register to vote online, by mail, at a self-service station, or at a Secretary of State office no later than two weeks before Election Day. Eligible citizens can register to vote or update their voter registration in-person up to and on Election Day in person at their local clerk’s office.

    • Online at Michigan.gov/Vote: Register to vote online with their Michigan driver’s license or ID number.
    • By mail: Download, print, and complete an application to register to vote to return to the local clerk’s office. This form is also offered in large print.
    • Self-service station: Voter registration is offered when completing a transaction at Secretary of State self-service stations across Michigan. Locate a self-service station at miselfservicestation.com.
    • At a Secretary of State office: Eligible citizens will be registered to vote automatically anytime they complete a Michigan driver’s license or ID transaction, unless they opt-out.
    • At the local clerk’s office: To locate your local clerk’s office, visit Michigan.gov/Vote.

    Additionally, several state agencies and military recruitment centers also provide voter registration services.

  • Per the passage of Proposal 3 in 2018, Michigan now allows same-day voter registration, meaning that eligible citizens can register and vote up to and on Election Day. Voters may register or update their voter registration in person at their city or township clerk’s office through 8 p.m. on Election Day.

    Eligible citizens can register to vote or update their voter registration online, by mail, at a self-service station, or at a Secretary of State office up to two weeks before Election Day. Voters must register to vote or update their voter registration in person at their local clerk’s office in the 14 days before an election and on Election Day.

  • Securely track the status of your absentee ballot application and absentee ballot online at Michigan.gov/Vote.

  • Registered Michigan voters may request an absentee ballot by submitting an absentee ballot application online at Michigan.gov/Vote, by mail, or in person at their local clerk’s office. To avoid the potential for mailing delays, voters who choose to request an absentee ballot are encouraged to submit their absentee ballot application no later than two weeks before Election Day. Voters may also request an absentee ballot in person at their local clerk’s office through 4 p.m. on the Monday before an election.

    Upon receiving your absentee ballot application, your local clerk’s office should check the signature on your application against the one recorded on your voter registration record. Once the signature is verified, the clerk’s office will issue your absentee ballot. To track your absentee ballot application and absentee ballot visit Michigan.gov/Vote.

    After receiving your absentee ballot, you have until 8 p.m. on Election Day to complete and sign the ballot and return it to your local clerk's office, who will again verify that the signature on the ballot return envelope matches your signature on file.

    Please note: If you receive assistance completing your absentee ballot, the person who helped you must sign the designated space on the return envelope before your ballot can be submitted to the clerk’s office. Only you, a family member or person residing in your household, a mail carrier, or deputized election official is authorized to deliver your signed absentee ballot to your clerk's office.

  • You may make an emergency request for an absentee ballot if you cannot attend the polls on Election Day due to an emergency occurring at or after 5 p.m. the Friday before an election. If you experience one of the following emergencies during this time, you may request an emergency absentee ballot:

    • You have become physically disabled
    • A family death or illness requires you to leave your community for the entire time the polls are open on Election Day
    • You have been quarantined or hospitalized
    • You have been incarcerated but are not currently serving a sentence in jail or prison

    Those who qualify for an emergency absentee ballot should contact their local clerk for assistance. All absentee ballots must be returned to the clerk's office by 8 p.m. on Election Day in order to be tabulated.

  • Please return it to your local clerk's office by mail, in person, or at a designated absentee drop box in your city or township. Visit Michigan.gov/Vote for to locate your city or township clerk if the information is not present on the return envelope.

  • Yes. After your voter registration application is processed by your clerk, you will receive a voter identification card that will list your polling place location and your voting districts. This card is for your reference, and you do not need to present it when you go to vote. If you did not receive or lost your card, contact your local clerk for a replacement or visit Michigan.gov/Vote to check your registration status.

  • The Bureau of Elections is responsible for:

    • Administering the state's election and campaign finance law
    • Providing information about registering to vote and voting
    • Providing oversight and training to local election officials
    • Assisting candidates running for statewide offices with the requirements for filing nominating petitions, affidavits of identity and campaign finance reports
    • Administering the Michigan Electronic Reporting and Tracking System, which allows candidates to file campaign finance reports electronically
    • Administering the Campaign Finance Database, which allows the public to access campaign finance reports
    • Maintaining the state's Qualified Voter File, an electronic database of registered voters
    • Administering the state's casino disclosure and lobbyists disclosure laws
    • Providing support to the Board of State Canvassers
  • To update your voter registration, complete a change of address application online, by mail, at a Secretary of State office, or at your local clerk’s office:

    • Online: Update your voter registration and address online at Michigan.gov/Vote or through Online Services.
    • By mail: Submit a Change of Address form to the Michigan Department of State.
    • In person: Update your voter registration in person at any Secretary of State office or at your local clerk’s office.

    Michigan voters must use the same residential address for voter registration and their driver’s license/ID. Consequently, if you change your address on your driver’s license or ID, it will automatically apply to your voter registration, and vice-versa. Therefore, if the residence address you provide when registering to vote differs from the address shown on your license or ID, the Secretary of State will automatically change your license or ID address to match your address on your voter registration. The Michigan Department of State will mail you a corrected change of address sticker for your standard license or ID, or a new enhanced state ID or driver’s license with your updated address.

  • No. As long as you are in the correct polling location, your name will appear on the registration list supplied to your precinct.

    The voter identification card is for your reference and is not required to vote. If you did not receive or have lost your voter identification card, contact your local clerk for a replacement, or visit Michigan.gov/Vote to check your registration status.

  • Registered Michigan voters can still vote with an absentee ballot while temporarily residing outside the United States. To request an absentee ballot, complete and submit an absentee ballot application to your local clerk to have the ballot mailed to you overseas.

    If you are already outside of the United States, you may use the Federal Postcard Application (FPCA) form to register to vote and request an absentee ballot. The FPCA forms are distributed through U.S. embassies and military bases.

  • Candidate and campaign finance records are accessed through the campaign finance searchable database.

  • All voter registration records are public documents and can be obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

    The following voter information is not made available to the public:

    • Driver's license or state ID number
    • Month and day of birth
    • Phone number
    • Email address

    Additionally, the identity or type of office that initially received the voter’s registration and information regarding an individual’s refusal to register to vote are not public record.

  • No. Michigan voters do not register by party affiliation. 

  • Voters may view their sample ballot at Michigan.gov/Vote.

  • Yes, the Bureau of Elections can make copies of public documents. There is a fee of $0.25 per page, which must be paid before the request can be filled. Bureau of Elections can only accept cash, check, or money orders.

  • To obtain copies, please submit a written request to:

    Michigan Department of State
    Bureau of Elections
    PO Box 20126
    Lansing, Michigan 48901-0726

    Email: Disclosure@Michigan.gov (campaign finance) or Elections@Michigan.gov (all other election related documents)

  • It's easy to find out who your representatives are at the state and federal levels:

    Michigan State Representative: House.Michigan.gov

    Michigan State Senator: Senate.Michigan.gov

    U.S. Congressperson: House.gov

    U.S. Senators: Senate.gov

    Michigan’s executive branch (Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, and Attorney General): Michigan.gov/SOM/Government

    Michigan's judicial branch: Michigan.gov/SOM/Government

  • Anyone can help register eligible citizens to vote in Michigan. Guidance and materials for hosting a voter registration drive are available at Michigan.gov/VoterEducation.

  • Voters can take a picture of their own ballot in the voting booth. For the privacy and security of neighboring voters, voters are prohibited from holding their ballot up for a selfie and/or photo. Voters may, however, take selfies outside of the polling location and are encouraged to do so.

  • In Michigan, voters can only vote in one party column and cannot "split" their ticket (i.e., vote in more than one party column) if voting in a presidential (March) or statewide (August) primary.

    Voters may “split” their ticket in the general election (November). Per the passage of Proposal 18-3 in 2018, Michigan voters also have the option to vote straight-ticket by selecting the option on the side of their ballot with partisan races. Voting straight ticket does not automatically include selections on non-partisan side of the ballot.

  • Michigan has prohibited the practice of displaying election-related materials at the polls for decades. This includes clothing and buttons as well as materials such as pamphlets, fliers, and stickers. You cannot display such items in the polling place or within 100 feet of an entrance to a polling place. If you go to the polls with a shirt or button bearing election-related images or slogans, you will be asked to cover or remove it.

  • According to state law, eligible citizens who are not currently serving a sentence in jail or prison are eligible to register and vote in Michigan. Citizens who are eligible can vote if they:

    • Are a Michigan resident, a U.S. citizen, and at least 18 years old
    • Have a past conviction
    • Are on probation or on parole
    • Are in or out of jail or prison while awaiting arraignment or trial
  • The compilation of home foreclosure information alone does not provide sufficient reason to challenge a person's voting status. In fact, the Michigan Republican and Democratic parties agree that so-called foreclosure lists do not provide a reasonable basis to challenge voters.

  • The Bureau of Elections has produced a guide titled “The Presidential Primary Facts and Statistics,” which explores the history of the presidential primary in Michigan and provides statistics about previous presidential primary elections.

  • If obtaining your absentee ballot in person, you will be requested to show photo ID. If you are not in possession of photo ID, you sign an affidavit stating you are not in possession of photo ID. If applying for an absentee ballot by mail, you will sign the application return envelope and your local clerk will verify the signature on the return envelope against the signature on file for you.

  • To confirm your designated polling location, visit Michigan.gov/Vote. Registered Michigan voters who move within 60 days of the election may still vote at their previous address if they have not registered to vote at their new address before the election.

  • The bipartisan boards of canvassers at the county and state level are required by law to affirm the will of the people as demonstrated by the number of votes cast for each candidate in an election. Each board is comprised of two Republicans and two Democrats. Michigan law provides the county canvassers 14 days to examine everything that transpired in the elections in jurisdictions in their counties, and then certify the results and the election. The State Board of Canvassers subsequently must vote to certify all the county elections. There are a number of procedural checks-and-balances that ensure that elections are secure, and all eligible votes are accurately counted. Residents interested in learning more about canvassing and elections in Michigan are encouraged to become an election inspector by contacting their local clerk or Democracy MVP.

  • Poll workers are called "election inspectors" in Michigan. To find out how to become an election inspector and other ways to help, visit Michigan.gov/DemocracyMVP.

  • You are not required to vote the entire ballot. You may pick and choose the races or ballot questions for which you want to vote. Skipping sections of the ballot does not invalidate your ballot. 

  • The polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. for all elections. Voters who are in line at their polling location by 8 p.m. on Election Day may still wait in line to vote. 

  • If you hand-deliver your application, the staff person helping you will take your form and ask you to provide photo identification. If you do not have an acceptable form of photo identification, you will be asked to sign an Affidavit of Voter not in Possession of Picture Identification.

    If you have never registered to vote in Michigan and choose to mail in your application, you will need to meet an identification requirement. This means you must:

    • Enter your driver's license number or state ID number where requested on the form, or
    • Send a copy of one of the following forms of identification with your application:
      • A photocopy of your driver's license or state ID, or
      • A photocopy of a paycheck stub, utility bill, bank document, or government document that lists both your name and your address.

    If you are unable to fulfill this requirement at the time of registration, you may provide one of the previously listed items at the polls on election day to complete the process.

    Never send an original document.

  • After receiving your absentee ballot, you have until 8 p.m. on Election Day to complete the ballot and return it to the clerk's office. Your ballot will not be counted unless your signature is on the return envelope and matches your signature on file. If you received assistance voting the ballot, then the signature of the person who helped you must also be on the return envelope. Only you, a family member or person residing in your household, a mail carrier, or election official is authorized to deliver your signed absent voter ballot to your clerk's office.

  • Information about election administration in Michigan is available at Michigan.gov/ElectionSecurity

     

     
  • Due to the passage of the statewide ballot proposal 18-3 in 2018, all eligible and registered voters in Michigan may now request an absentee ballot without providing a reason.

     

  • The Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission was established by voters in 2018 to redraw Michigan’s state house, senate, and congressional districts. These new maps will be in use for the 2022 statewide primary and general elections. The maps will be in place for the next 10 years.  

    Information about changes to polling place locations and updated voter registration cards will be provided to voters by their city or township clerk. Voters can also find their voting precinct by visiting Michigan.gov/Vote and selecting “Where is my polling place” under the topic “Your voter information.”

  • Voters can request an absentee ballot online up until 5 p.m. on the Friday before Election Day or may request one in person at their city or township clerk’s office up until 4 p.m. on the Monday before Election Day. Information for all local Michigan clerks is available on Michigan.gov/Vote.

  • Voters who have submitted their absentee ballot application are encouraged to track their request online at Michigan.gov/Vote to ensure their local clerk’s office received their request. The website will also securely track when a local clerk’s office sends an absentee ballot to the voter by mail and when the clerk has received the ballot back from the voter. 

    Voters who have not received their absentee ballot as Election Day approaches are encouraged to visit Michigan.gov/Vote to confirm their voter registration information and address is up to date. If they confirm this is the case, they may contact their local clerk’s office to check on the status of their absentee ballot application and requested ballot. 

    Voters may also request an absentee ballot in person at their city or township clerk’s office up until 4 p.m. the Monday before Election Day.

  • If a voter has already voted absentee and wishes to change their vote, a voter can spoil their ballot by submitting a written and signed request to their city or township clerk. Voters have three options to spoil their ballot:

    • By mail - The voter must sign the request and state if they would like a new absentee ballot mailed to them or if they will pick it up in person at the clerk’s office. This request must be received by 5 p.m. the second Friday before Election Day if received by mail. 
    • In person - An absentee ballot that has not been returned to the clerk may be spoiled in person at the clerk’s office until 4 p.m. the Monday prior to Election Day. 

    There is not an option to spoil an absentee ballot that has already been received by the clerk on Election Day. If a voter’s absentee ballot was lost or destroyed, they may sign a statement attesting to this and may vote in person at their polling place.

     

     
  • The Bureau of Elections is located on the first floor of the Richard H. Austin Building (formerly the Treasury Building) at 430 W. Allegan St., in downtown Lansing. Access is available through the north side and south side entrances. All guests must register at the security desk before proceeding to the Bureau of Elections. The entrance to the Bureau is located in the northeast corner of the lobby.

    Regular mail for the Bureau of Elections should be addressed to:

    Michigan Department of State
    Bureau of Elections
    PO Box 20126
    Lansing, MI 48901-0726

    The mailing address for overnight or express deliveries is:

    Michigan Department of State
    Bureau of Elections
    Richard H. Austin Building - First Floor
    430 W. Allegan
    Lansing, MI 48918

    You may also contact the Bureau by:

    Fax: 517-335-3235

    Or email us at:

    Election Division: Elections@michigan.gov

    Campaign Finance Division: Disclosure@Michigan.gov