Have concerns about absentee voting?
Michigan has two upcoming elections in 2020. The August 4, 2020 State Primary and the November 3, 2020 General Election. Your vote is important, as is the voting process.
As we find ourselves in an unprecedented worldwide pandemic, many voters have concerns about exercising their voting privilege in-person at the polls for health and security reasons. Absentee voting is a safe way to vote and protect your health, and the process is secure and accurate.
At this time, the State of Michigan is planning to hold in-person elections for both the August and November elections. With the passing of statewide ballot proposal 18-3 in 2018, all eligible and registered voters in Michigan may request an absent voter ballot without providing a reason. Voting by absentee ballot allows voters to vote by mail and still stay home and safe if they choose. Voting absentee also allows you to avoid lines at the polls, or cast your ballot when it is inconvenient to vote in person on Election Day.
To vote absentee, you simply request an absent voter ballot in writing, and submit the request to your city clerk. This request can be made by submitting an application, a letter, or a postcard. Requests must have your registered name, address, where you want the ballot sent, and your signature. It may be returned in person, by postal mail, fax, or email as long as your signature is visible. Applications can be obtained from your city clerk's office or online at www.Michigan.gov/vote.
There is much talk about the Secretary of State's office sending an application to every registered voter. If you receive an application, and do not wish to vote absentee, simply disregard the application and visit your polling place to vote on Election Day between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. You are not obligated to vote absentee just because you received an application.
To have a ballot mailed to you, your application or request must be received by the city clerk no later than 5 p.m. the Friday before the election. You also may request an absent voter ballot in person at a city or township clerk's office until 4 p.m. on the Monday before an election. If you request an absent voter ballot on Monday, you must vote it in person at the clerk's office.
Once your request is received by the local clerk, your signature on the request will be checked against your voter registration record before a ballot is issued. You must be a registered voter to receive an absent voter ballot (but you can register and request an absent voter ballot at the same time - see below). Requests for absent voter ballots are processed when received. Absent voter ballots may be issued to you at your home address or any address outside of your city or township of residence.
After receiving your absent voter ballot, you have until 8 p.m. on Election Day to complete the ballot and return it to the clerk's office. Your ballot won't 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 also must 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.
If an emergency, such as a sudden illness or family death, prevents you from reaching the polls on Election Day, you may request an emergency absent voter ballot. Requests for an emergency ballot must be submitted after the deadline for regular absent voter ballots has passed but before 4 p.m. on Election Day. The emergency must have occurred at a time which made it impossible for you to apply for a regular absent voter ballot. Please contact your local clerk for more information about emergency absent voter ballots.
You may request an absent voter ballot at the same time as registering to vote. If you register on the Monday before an election and request an absent voter ballot at the same time, you must vote it at the clerk's office. If you register on Election Day, you may either request an absent voter ballot and vote it at the clerk's office, or instead of requesting an absent voter ballot you may go to the precinct and vote.
When filling out the application, please note the option to be added to the Permanent Absent Voter List. All you do is check the box. The permanent list allows the clerk to send you an application before every election, but there is no commitment. If you choose to vote by mail, simply complete and return it. If you decide you would like to vote in person for that election, you may do so, just disregard the application. No ballots are sent automatically.
If you have questions or concerns, please contact your city clerk for more information!
Registered Voters in Confinement
Registered voters who have been convicted and sentenced for a crime and are in confinement as a result of that conviction and sentencing may not vote during the time they are in confinement. Confinement is defined by Michigan Department of Prisons for the purpose of voting as incarcerated in jail or prison, under house arrest, on a tether or serving in a work release program. Voting rights are restored once they have completed their sentence, even if they have been convicted and sentenced for a felony charge.
If you are charged with a crime, but not convicted or sentenced, you may vote even if you are in jail. Contact the City Clerk's office for directions on applying for an absentee ballot for the election you wish to vote in. If your sentencing prevents you from entering public school grounds and your precinct voting location is located in a school, please contact the City Clerk's office about voting absentee ballot.