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Accessibility and accommodations
Accessible elections and voting (Choose tab below)
Casting a ballot
Voter assistance terminals (VATs)
Accessible absentee ballot
If you require assistance casting a ballot, you may ask another person to assist you in completing it. This person cannot be:
- Your employer
- An agent of your employer
- An agent or officer of your labor union
Polling places must be accessible and are required to have a Voter Assistance Terminal (VAT) on site. Election officials must consider accessibility in and around the polling place, including ensuring that doors are unlocked and that alternatives to stairs, such as ramps or elevators, are provided.
If your site isn’t accessible, you will be directed to an alternative site that is accessible or you can request to vote curbside and have a ballot brought to you outside your designated polling place.
Locate your local clerk’s office
All voters, including voters with disabilities, have access to a Voter Assist Terminal (VAT) at all polling places.
The VAT marks the ballot with the voter's choice but doesn’t tally or tabulate their vote. Once the ballot is marked, it is counted using the same method for all other ballots.
Counties decide which voting equipment system will be used in their local communities. While voting equipment varies depending on where you live and are registered to vote, all Michigan counties will use one of three systems:
- Hart voting systems
- ES&S voting systems
- Dominion voting systems
A list of voting equipment by county is available at Michigan.gov/Vote.
If you have a disability that prevents you from being able to vote by absentee ballot privately and independently, you can request an accessible, electronic absentee ballot.
The accessible absentee ballot allows voters to mark the documents on an electronic device, using their own assistive technology, without visiting a polling place or clerk's office.
To request an accessible absentee ballot, visit Michigan.gov/Vote or contact your local clerk to obtain and submit an accessible absentee ballot application online, by mail, or at your clerk’s office.
Once you receive your accessible absentee ballot and have completed it electronically, print it from your device to return by mail, at a designated drop box, or in person to your local clerk’s office.
You can request an accessible absentee ballot up 40 days ahead of an election and may submit your request up to 5 p.m. the Friday before Election Day. To avoid the potential for mailing delays, it is strongly recommended that you request your absentee ballot no later than 14 days before an election. If you plan to return your absentee ballot by mail, it is also advised that you do so as early as possible and at least two weeks before Election Day.
If you’d like to automatically receive an accessible absentee ballot application before every election, sign up for the Permanent Accessible Absentee Voter list with your local clerk’s office.
Request an accessible absentee ballot
American Sign Language interpreter requests
The Michigan Department of State coordinates American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters by request for deaf, deaf/blind, and hard-of-hearing residents ahead of their Secretary of State office visit.
To request that an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter join you at an upcoming appointment, complete the ASL Interpreter Request form at Michigan.gov/SOSASL. Requests should be submitted at least two weeks before the date of your preferred office visit.
If you are completing a mechanic’s test, your ASL interpreter cannot be a current or formerly licensed mechanic, repair facility owner, or certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE).
Request an ASL interpreter
If you are legally blind or your license was revoked, suspended, or denied because of a cognitive or physical condition that affects your ability to drive, you qualify to receive an ID at no charge.
No fee ID requirements for legally blind residents
If you are legally blind and would like to apply for a no-fee ID, visit a Secretary of State office to provide one of following documents:
- A doctor’s statement
- Documentation from one of Michigan’s state libraries for the blind.
- Documentation from the Bureau of Services for Blind Persons (BSBP) – Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) at (800) 292-4200.
- A Certificate of Completion on letterhead from the Leader Dog School
Those applying for an enhanced ID are required to verbally answer questions regarding legal presence documents.
If you have a condition that impacts your communication abilities (i.e.: non-verbal), a parent/legal guardian or designated adult may answer the questions on your behalf.
Communication impediment designation
If you have a condition that impacts your ability to communicate (i.e.: hard-of-hearing, deaf, deaf/blind, non-verbal, or are on the autism spectrum), you may add a designation to your license or ID to notify law enforcement about your specific communication needs.
The designation is voluntary and isn’t printed on your license or ID. It can only be viewed by law enforcement when accessing your driving record in the event of a traffic stop or an emergency.
To have the designation added to your record, a licensed physician, physician assistant, certified nurse practitioner, or physical therapist must certify that you require special considerations when communicating.
Submit your completed and signed application form by mail, fax, or email, or drop it off at a Secretary of State office.
Communication Impediment Designation application
Testing accommodations (Choose tab below)
CDL driving skills test
Driver knowledge exam
Driving skills test
Bioptic Telescopic Lens (BTL)
Testing for drivers under 18
CDL knowledge test
To request an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter for a commercial driver’s license (CDL) road test, you must first obtain a federal or state waiver (different from the Full Waiver Form):
- Michigan waiver (intrastate) - Drivers who operate in intrastate operations only (within the borders of Michigan)
- FMCSA waiver (interstate) - Drivers who operate in interstate commerce (outside of Michigan) must apply for an exemption from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
For assistance with the Michigan (intrastate) waiver, contact the Michigan State Police at MSP-CVEDmedwaiver@Michigan.gov.
All mechanic testing may be completed at any Secretary of State office using an electronic testing station.
Special Need Testing
The Office of Investigative Services offers Special Need Testing for those individuals who have reading or language barriers. Those individuals who do not read or comprehend well, and those having a limited understanding of the English language may have a translator read the test to them. Mechanic translator testing is offered by appointment only after the following form is successfully processed and approved.
Mechanic Test Translator Agreement (AR-0197), email the completed form to: Licensing@michigan.gov
The mechanic test applicant will be notified that the mechanic translator has been approved or denied.
A Mechanic Translator must be a person who has never been involved in the field of automotive repair or related occupations.
- Mechanic Translators are at the expense of the mechanic test applicant and may be a family member, friend, or professional foreign language interpreter.
- Individuals who require a sign-language interpreter may be eligible for assistance through the Michigan Department of State under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Follow this link for more information Request Sign Language Interpreter.
- A prospective Mechanic Translator must sign a "Mechanic Test Translator Agreement" certifying that their assistance will be limited to reading or translating the test items only. No explanations of the test items may be provided.
After the application has been approved, the mechanic test applicant will be notified and instructed to make an appointment with any Secretary of State branch office for testing. Appointments are available 180 days out and can be made online, in person at a branch office, or call 888-767-6424.
To schedule a mechanic test can be done on the Online Services. Select the Online Services, once the page has opened:
- Locate "Additional Services", within Additional Services select the hyperlink labeled "Mechanic Services".
- When the new page has opened, locate the hyperlink labeled "Sign Up"
Further mechanic test issues should be directed to:
Michigan Department of State
Business Licensing Section
Lansing, MI 48918
Driver knowledge exams may be completed at any Secretary of State office using an electronic testing station.
In most cases, an audio recording of the test questions (in English) is available at the station. You can request a set of headphones to pause and rewind test recorded questions as needed.
Knowledge exams aren’t timed, and in most cases, you may take as long as you need to complete the test within office hours. Tests can be scheduled up until one hour before offices close.
If you are unable to complete the knowledge exam on the testing station and/or with the provided audio recording, you may request additional accommodations, including a paper version of the exam. Additional accommodations will be considered and arranged upon request.
Accommodations, including appropriate auxiliary aids and services, may be provided at no cost to drivers with disabilities who are completing the driving skills test, unless providing such auxiliary aids or services would fundamentally alter the nature of the program or result in an undue burden.
Requesting an ASL interpreter
If you are deaf or hard-of-hearing and preparing to take the driving skills test, inform the road test provider if you will be providing your own American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter or are requesting one.
You may take your driving skills test using your personal vehicle with adaptive equipment already installed if you aren’t testing for a CDL endorsement.
If you meet the vision requirements, you may complete an driving skills test administered by the Michigan Department of State using a Bioptic Telescopic Lens (BTL).
Please note: Driver testing businesses can’t administer driving skills tests for BTL.
If you are eligible, complete training with one of the following professionals using a BTL:
- Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist (CDRS)
- Occupational Therapist (OT)
- Certified Driving Instructor (CDI)
- Another equivalent certified professional
You may only drive with one of the above professionals and must comply with all Telescopic Lens restrictions.
Prior to your on-road driving skills test, you will need to:
- Submit a completed Vision Specialist’s Statement of Examination form, signed by your licensed vision specialist
- Complete and pass the written driver knowledge exam at a Secretary of State office
Once you pass the written driver knowledge exam; complete training with the CDRS, OT/CDI, or the equivalent; and provide a receipt of the evaluation, contact the Michigan Department of State Driver Assessment Section at TrafficSafetySOS@Michigan.gov to schedule a driver assessment reexamination.
If the evaluation of your assessment is favorable, the road test will be administered.
- If the road test is passed, the restriction to drive only while accompanied by a CDRS, OT/CDI, or equivalent is removed.
- If you are under the age of 18, you must follow the rules and requirements of the Graduated Driver License (GDL) program, the three-year probationary license requirements, and BTL requirement.
The Americans with Disabilities Act and Michigan Persons with Disabilities Civil Rights Act apply to driver education programs and services, whether provided through public or private schools.
The Michigan Department of State encourages parents and driver education providers to work together to provide an appropriate accommodation to help meet the needs of the student.
Students with disabilities attending driver education may be entitled to accommodations (including appropriate auxiliary aids and services) at no cost, as long as their disabilities don’t prevent them from driving safely, and unless providing such auxiliary aids or services would fundamentally alter the nature of the program or result in an undue burden.
All commercial driver’s license (CDL) written knowledge exams may be completed at any Secretary of State office using an electronic testing station.
You may request an audio recording of CDL endorsement knowledge exam questions (in English) unless you are taking an exam for the hazardous materials (hazmat [H]) endorsement or school bus endorsement(S).
Residents with temporary or permanent health conditions impacting their mobility are eligible for certain disability parking accommodations and may apply for a disability parking placard. Those with permanent disabilities may also apply for a disability license plate.
Information about disability parking
Requesting a different reasonable accommodation
If you, or someone you are assisting, require an accommodation that isn’t addressed above, you may request another reasonable accommodation by contacting MDOS-Access@Michigan.gov. Be sure to include the following in your request:
- Your full name
- Email address
- Phone number
- The service you need to complete
- Any details related to your request, including the accommodation you need
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
What is a reasonable accommodation?
Per the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Michigan Persons with Disabilities Civil Rights Act, a reasonable accommodation is any modification to a policy, practice, or procedure that is necessary to meet the needs of the person with a disability. Reasonable accommodations cannot fundamentally alter the nature of the service, program, or activity being provided or result in an undue financial or administrative burden.
What is the service animal policy at Secretary of State's offices?
Qualifying service animals as defined in federal and state law are permitted in Secretary of State facilities and offices. Per ADA regulations, this includes dogs or miniature horses that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities (28 CFR Sect. 35. 136, 38.104).
The animal must be under control, not pose a direct threat to the health and safety of staff and customers, be housebroken, and its presence cannot “fundamentally alter” the nature of the goods, services, programs, or activities being provided.
The law doesn’t consider a comfort animal, an emotional support animal, or a therapy dog as a service animal, primarily because they lack the specialized training necessary to assist someone with a disability and therefore aren’t limited to working only with people with disabilities.
Michigan Public Acts 144-147 expand upon the definition and uses of service animals to include issues such as licensing fee exemptions, state-recognized certification and registration, and penalties for fraudulent use.
How do I request additional time, a quiet area, and/or for someone to read my test to me?
Tests aren’t timed but must be completed prior to the office closing. If you require a quiet area, department staff will provide accommodations to the best of their ability. All Secretary of State offices have headphones and audio versions of the driver knowledge exam. If you need someone to read the test to you, contact the MDOS-Access@Michigan.gov before scheduling your office visit.
What if I need to sit down/am unable to stand at the counter for my transaction at a Secretary of State office?
All Secretary of State offices have a designated counterspace for residents who require an accommodation and may need to sit while completing their transaction. If you require this type of accommodation while visiting an office, please speak to a staff member or greeter at the office upon arriving for your visit.
I am scheduled for a driver reexamination and require an accommodation. What should I do?
If you need an accommodation for an upcoming driver assessment reexamination, call the Driver Assessment Section at the number provided in your scheduling paperwork. You may also call 517-335-7051 for assistance.
I'm required to complete a transaction in person at a Secretary of State office but have a health condition that inhibits me from visiting an office. How can I complete my transaction?
Vehicle and title transactions
You can appoint someone else to complete certain vehicle title and registration transactions on your behalf. To do so, provide your appointed agent with the following to take with them when they visit a Secretary of State office:
- Completed and signed Appointment of Agent form
- A photocopy or photo of the front of your valid, unexpired Michigan license or ID
Appointment of Agent form
Driver’s license and ID transactions
State law requires Michigan residents to renew their license or ID every 4 years. The law requires residents to take a new photo for their license or ID every 12 years at a Secretary of State office.
If you’re required to take a new photo for your license or ID or need to complete any of the following transactions, you will need to visit a Secretary of State office:
- Applying for a first-time standard or enhanced license or ID
- Converting a license or ID to REAL ID
- Correcting a name, gender designation, commercial endorsement/designation, or other information
If you are homebound and cannot visit a Secretary of State office to complete your transaction, contact the Michigan Department of State at MDOS-Access@Michigan.gov or call 888-SOS-MICH (767-6424) for assistance.
Please note: An application for a first-time, enhanced, or REAL ID-compliant license or ID can’t be completed outside of a Secretary of State office.
How do I file an ADA complaint?
If you believe you have been wrongly denied an accommodation and would like to file a complaint, who you file a complaint with depends on the situation:
- Driver’s education and testing: If a driver education or driver testing business won’t provide reasonable accommodations after contacting them, contact the Michigan Department of State Driver Education and Testing Section at MDOS-Access@Michigan.gov.
- Secretary of State offices and services: Contact the Michigan Department of State ADA Coordinator at MDOS-Access@Michigan.gov.
- Other complaints: Contact the Michigan Department of Civil Rights at 800-482-3604 (voice) or 877-878-8464 (TTY).
For more information on ADA, visit ADA.gov or contact the U.S. Department of Justice ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 (voice) or 800-514-0383 (TTY).