Absentee ballots now available in Michigan: Here’s how to request, return one
The midterm election is 40 days away. That means that starting Thursday, Michigan voters will start receiving and returning their absentee ballots.
Positions up for election this fall include Michigan’s top three statewide offices − governor, attorney general and secretary of state − as well as two Michigan Supreme Court seats, the state’s congressional delegation, every seat in the state Legislature, seats on university and K-12 school boards and more. Voters will also have a chance to weigh in on ballot measures regarding term limits and financial disclosures for state lawmakers, voting rights and abortion rights.
Clerks have already started sending absentee ballots to Michigan’s military and overseas voters. For those at home who’ve already requested an absentee ballot, you can expect yours in the mail soon. For others wanting to vote absentee, the process to request an absentee ballot is straightforward.
Who can cast an absentee ballot in Michigan?
If you’re a registered voter in Michigan, you have the right to cast an absentee ballot.
Michigan voters adopted a constitutional amendment in 2018 allowing all voters in the state to cast an absentee ballot for any reason. Nearly 60% of Michigan voters cast an absentee ballot in the last statewide general election and absentee voting has continued to remain a popular option among voters since then.
How can I apply for an absentee ballot?
You can apply for an absentee ballot online, by mail or in person
You can request an absentee ballot online before 5 p.m. Nov. 4 (the Friday before Election Day) if you have a Michigan driver’s license or state ID. Visit https://mvic.sos.state.mi.us/AVApplication/Index to complete the online absentee ballot application. Election officials recommend voters apply for an absentee ballot online at least 14 days before Election Day (by Oct. 25) to avoid postal delays. Your local clerk must receive your request to have an absentee ballot mailed to you by 5 p.m. Nov. 4.
You can also request an absentee ballot by downloading and completing the absentee ballot application form. You can send your completed absentee ballot application in the mail or deliver it in person to your local clerk. You can also call your local clerk to request an application be mailed to you. The absentee ballot application form is available for download at https://www.michigan.gov/sos/all-services/absentee-ballot and clicking “Absentee ballot application.” Election officials recommend submitting an absentee ballot application to your local clerk’s office at least 14 days before Election Day (by Oct. 25) to avoid postal delays. Your local clerk must receive your request to have an absentee ballot mailed to you by 5 p.m. Nov. 4.
Starting Thursday − 40 days before the Nov. 8 midterm election − you can go to your local clerk’s office to request an absentee ballot. Local election officials must be available during their regularly scheduled business hours and at least eight hours during the Saturday and/or Sunday immediately preceding Election Day to issue and receive absentee ballots. Voters have until 4 p.m. the Monday before Election Day (Nov. 7) to obtain an absentee ballot in person at their local clerk’s office. To avoid postal delays, election officials recommend requesting an absentee ballot in person within two weeks of Election Day.
How do I find out where my local clerk’s office is located and how to contact my local clerk’s office?
You can look up the address and hours for your local clerk’s office and any satellite locations they’ve set up to register voters as well as issue and receive absentee ballots by visiting https://mvic.sos.state.mi.us, clicking on “Where are my clerk’s offices?” and entering the address where you are registered to vote. The page also includes contact information for your local clerk’s office.
When and how should I return my absentee ballot?
You can return your absentee ballot using a drop box located in the municipality where you’re registered to vote, in the mail or in person to your local clerk’s office. Ballots must be received by your local clerk by 8 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 8. That means you must return it to a drop box or in person by then or if you mail your ballot, it must arrive to your local clerk’s office by the deadline. Ballots postmarked by Election Day that arrive after that 8 p.m. deadline are not counted.
You can find where ballot drop boxes are located in your jurisdiction by visiting https://mvic.sos.state.mi.us/Home/Index, clicking “Where are my ballot drop boxes?” and entering the address where you are registered to vote.
You can also pop your absentee ballot in a mailbox. To avoid potential delays, election officials recommend mailing absentee ballots at least 14 days before Election Day (by Oct. 25) and hand-delivering them after that point.
And don’t forget to sign where indicated on the absentee ballot return envelope!
Once I return my absentee ballot, how do I know whether it’s counted?
You can track your absentee ballot by visiting https://mvic.sos/state.mi.us/Home/Index, clicking “Your voter information” and entering basic information to see when your absentee ballot application was received, your ballot was sent and your ballot was received.
What if I received an absentee ballot but decide I actually want to vote in person? What if I already returned my absentee ballot but want to change my vote?
If you already requested and received an absentee ballot but decide you want to vote in person instead, you can bring your absentee ballot to your polling location on Election Day and surrender it. If you lost your ballot or it was destroyed, you can sign a statement and vote at your polling location.
If you already returned a completed absentee ballot, you can spoil it and request a new one before Election Day. All you have to do is submit a written, signed and dated request to your local clerk. Once you know you’d like to spoil your ballot, you should put in a request early to ensure enough time to obtain a new one.
Local clerks must receive a written and signed request by 5 p.m. Nov. 4 from voters who want to spoil their ballot and receive a new one by mail.
Voters who have already returned their absentee ballot have until 10 a.m. Nov. 7 to submit a written request in person to spoil their ballot and receive a new one with their local clerk’s office
Voters who have not returned their ballot have until 4 p.m. Nov. 7 to submit a written request in person to spoil their ballot and receive a new one at their local clerk’s office
You can vote only once in an election. If your clerk has already received your absentee ballot and you show up to your polling location on Election Day, you will not be issued a ballot.
Help! I was planning on voting in person, but an emergency has come up and I won’t be able to go to my polling location on Election Day. Can I still cast an absentee ballot?
Under Michigan law, if you have become physically disabled or a family death or illness makes it impossible for you to vote in person on Election Day, you can request an “emergency” absentee ballot. To qualify, the emergency must have occurred at a time that made it impossible for you to request an absentee ballot by the 5 p.m. Nov. 4 deadline.
Contact your local clerk to request an emergency ballot after that time but before 4 p.m. Nov. 8.
Emergency absentee ballots must be received at your local clerk’s office by 8 p.m. Nov. 8.
How do I register to vote?
You can register to vote up through and on Election Day if you are a U.S. citizen who will be at least 18 years old when you vote and a Michigan resident when you register and a resident of your city or township for at least 30 days when you vot
If you are currently serving a sentence in jail or prison, you are not eligible to register to vote. You can still vote if you’re in jail and haven’t been sentenced.
You can register in person any time up to 8 p.m. Nov. 8 at your local clerk’s office. If you’d prefer to register online, you must submit your application by Oct. 24 and if you submit an application by mail, it must be postmarked by that date
You can register to vote online at https://mvic.sos.state.mi.us/registervoter. And you can find the voter registration form at https://www.michigan.gov/sos/elections/upcoming-election-information/voters under “Voter Registration.
Starting Oct. 25 and up until 8 p.m. Nov. 8, you must register to vote in person.
Clara Hendrickson fact-checks Michigan issues and politics as a corps member with Report for America, an initiative of The GroundTruth Project. Make a tax-deductible contribution to support her work at bit.ly/freepRFA. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 313-296-5743. Follow her on Twitter @clarajanehen.
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Campaign Office is open at 1970 W Houghton Lk Dr in Prudenville. We could use volunteers to man the office and greet supporters. If you can spare some time we would appreciate it. You can totally determine you hours based on your own schedule. Contact the phone number or email address listed above for more information.
We are moving forward and will now focus on building a civic action community of supporters in Roscommon County who will help lead us into Election 2022. We will be asking for volunteers to join committees that will help educate and motivate our community population by demonstrating our concern for the issues the local Democratic voters identify as important in their lives.
Of course, you can contribute money to the campaign as well.
Come to our monthly meetings on the fourth Wednesday of the month at the Denton TWP Hall in Houghton Lake.
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