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New tools help make Michigan’s voter registration list more accurate than ever
March 22, 2022
Voters can update their own registrations online or with their local clerk
The Michigan Bureau of Elections is providing new tools to citizens to update their voter registrations as it continues carrying out extensive list maintenance initiatives that have resulted in the most accurate and complete voter list in state history.
“Michigan’s voter registration list is more accurate than ever before thanks to the work we’ve done in recent years to ensure accessible elections with secure list-maintenance protocols,” said Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson.
Voters can always go online to Michigan.gov/Vote to check and update their registration as necessary. The bureau also sends mailers to the addresses on registrations of voters who may have moved, and voters can now quickly and easily also respond online to those mailers to verify, cancel or update their registration. When no response is received, in accordance with federal law the registration remains inactive for at least two statewide election cycles before it can be cancelled.
Voters are encouraged to check their registration status well in advance of elections at Michigan.gov/Vote. Voters whose registrations have been marked inactive can still vote. Voters whose registrations have been cancelled can re-register online up to 15 days before an election, and in person at their local clerk’s office through Election Day.
Since 2019, the bureau and clerks across the state have cancelled 330,374 voter registrations of deceased citizens, 176,808 registrations for citizens no longer residing at their registered address, and 7,294 records for citizens who requested cancellation. An additional 441,483 registrations have been moved to inactive status based on possible change of residence, including 107,052 slated for cancellation after the 2022 election cycle and 334,431 after the 2024 election cycle.
In 2019, Michigan joined the Electronic Registration Information Center, a national consortium that compares the registration lists of dozens of member states to identify when voters die or move out of state, allowing member states to update or cancel their registrations accordingly. Michigan now utilizes this data, in addition to data from the state driver file and data on Michigan residents who surrender their driver’s licenses out of state, to maintain the voter list.
Further strengthening Michigan’s voter list maintenance efforts, the bureau and local clerks utilized absent voter ballot applications that were returned undeliverable in 2020 to identify additional voters who may have moved. No other statewide mailing to registered voters had been conducted in more than a decade.
“The statewide mailings, interstate data sharing, daily reconciliation with the driver file, and other activities we’re conducting constitute the most thorough and precise list maintenance initiative in Michigan history,” said Benson. “It’s shameful that legislative leaders are attacking Michigan’s democracy by spreading lies and misinformation about the state’s voter list in an attempt to undermine public faith in our elections, but we will continue to manage the list transparently and in accordance with the law.”
There are currently more than 8 million registered voters in Michigan. The state has successfully registered a higher share of citizens than other states for many years by pioneering the “motor-voter” system, whereby citizens have the opportunity to register to vote when updating their driver’s licenses and state IDs. In 2018, Michigan citizens overwhelmingly voted to pass a constitutional amendment that streamlined the process further by transitioning to automatic voter registration. Since 2019, Michigan also now allows online and same-day registration.
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