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Election Administration in Michigan

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Election Types and Dates

Election Dates

Upcoming Primary Elections

The primary election is August 2, 2016.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-04-26)

Michigan Election Calendar [link]

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.534 [link]

Upcoming General Elections

The general election is November 8, 2016.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-04-26)

Michigan Election Calendar [link]

Michigan Constitution, Article II, Section 5 [link]

How is a nominee determined?

How is a nominee determined (caucus, primary, convention)?

Most nominees are chosen through primary elections.

However, if a political party's principal candidate received less than 5% of the total votes cast for all candidates for the office of Secretary of State in the last preceding state election, that party must nominate candidates through a county caucus and state convention system. If the principal candidate of a political party receives a vote equal to less than 1% of the total number of votes cast for the successful candidate for the office of Secretary of State at the last general election in which a Secretary of State was elected, that political party's candidates will not be placed on the ballot and must re-qualify as a new political party in order to have its candidates printed on the ballot.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-04-26)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.531 [link]

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.532 [link]

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.534 [link]

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.685(6) [link]

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.686 [link]

Political Party Affiliation

Can voters register by party in the state?

No.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-04-26)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.575 [link]

Michigan Voter Registration Application [link]

Must voters be registered with a political party if they would like to vote on that party’s candidates in a partisan primary election (i.e., are primaries open or closed)?

No, the primaries are open. In the August primary, every voter receives a ballot with all parties' candidates on it and can choose which party's primary they wish to vote in once they are in the privacy of the voting booth.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-04-26)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.575 [link]

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.575 [link]

When can a voter change or switch their party affiliation?

Voters do not register by party in Michigan.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-04-26)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.575 [link]

Michigan Voter Registration Application [link]

Voter Registration

Who Can Vote?

What are the state's residency requirements for voters?

To register to vote, a person must live in Michigan for at least 30 days.

When completing a voter registration application, people who do not have a traditional residential address, such as people experiencing homelessness, must describe their location in ""address"" field by writing the names of cross streets or a landmark.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-30)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.492 [link]

Michigan Voter Registration Form [link]

Can someone pre-register to vote if they will not be 18 years old by the next election? If so, who?

No. A person may register to vote only if they will be 18 years old by the next primary or general election.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-04-26)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.492 [link]

Can 17-year-olds who will be 18-year-olds by the general election vote in the primary?

No. Voters must be 18 by the primary to vote in the primary.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-04-26)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.492 [link]

Does the state take away the right to vote from persons convicted of certain crimes? If so, what crimes?

Yes, a person loses the right to vote after conviction of any crime (felony or misdemeanor) while they are serving a sentence in jail or prison.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-04-26)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.758b [link]

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.492a [link]

If people lose the right to vote because of a criminal conviction, can they regain the right to vote? How?

Voting rights are automatically restored after a person completes their term in prison or jail.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-04-26)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.758b [link]

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.492a [link]

Voter Registration Options

Is fully online voter registration available? (i.e., can voters fill in and submit an online application without printing and signing it?)

No. People may get a paper application (here) [http://www.michigan.gov/documents/MIVoterRegistration_97046_7.pdf], but they must print and mail or deliver the completed application to the clerk's office.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-04-26)

Michigan Voter Registration Application [link]

Mich. Comp. Laws §168.497 [link]

Does the state accept the National Mail Registration Form?

Yes. Click here to download the form.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-04-26)

National Mail Voter Registration Form [link]

Is the state required to register voters at public assistance agencies and driver's license agencies, per the National Voter Registration Act of 1993?

Yes.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-04-26)

U.S. Department of Justice website [link]

52 U.S.C. § 20507 [link]

Student-Specific Rules

Does the state have specific rules on students registering to vote or voting?

A voter does not gain or lose residence while a student at an institution of learning.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-04-26)

Mich. Comp. Laws §168.492 [link]

Mich. Comp. Laws §168.11 [link]

Driver's License Links

Michigan voters must use the same residential address for voter registration and driver's license purposes. If a voter submits a driver's license address change, it will be applied to their voter registration. Similarly, if they submit a voter registration address change, it will be applied to their driver's license.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-04-26)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.509aa(5) [link]

Voter Registration Deadlines

When is the voter registration deadline?

The 30th day before Election Day, or the next business day if that day is a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-04-26)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.498(1) [link]

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.497(1) [link]

How is the deadline enforced for mailed applications?

Postmark - an application must be postmarked by the deadline.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-04-26)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.509x [link]

When must a voter make changes to their registration for the changes to be in effect before the person seeks to vote?

The 30th day before Election Day, or the next business day if that day is a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-04-26)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.498(1) [link]

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.497(1) [link]

Voter Registration Drives

Does the state require organizations conducting voter registration drives to register?

No.

Are there restrictions on getting voter registration forms?

No, Michigan law does not restrict access to forms. It is the duty of the Secretary of State to make the proper forms for use in registration. The Secretary is required to develop a mail registration form and make the form available for distribution through governmental and private entities, with special emphasis on making the form available to voter registration programs established for the purpose of registering citizens of this state to vote.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-30)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.496 [link]

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.509n [link]

Does the state require any training in order to conduct voter registration drives?

No.

Does the state have restrictions on who may help others register to vote?

No.

Does the state have restrictions on paying drive workers, or additional rules related to payment?

Yes. A person may not provide compensation to another person for registering individuals to vote that is based upon either the total number of individuals a person registers to vote or on the total number of individuals a person registers to vote in a particular political party. A person who violates this restriction is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 5 years or a fine of not more than $1,000.00, or both.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-30)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.932c [link]

Are there restrictions on the voter registration drive offering something of value to a person in exchange for completing a voter registration application?

Federal law states that whoever ""pays or offers to pay or accepts payment either for registration to vote or for voting shall be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than five years."" At least one federal appellate court has interpreted ""payment"" as ""intended to include forms of pecuniary value offered or given directly to an individual voter, and indicated the value should be based on ""an assessment of the monetary worth of an item from the perspective of the voter receiving the item."" That case held that food vouchers could be ""payment.""

Another example is California's Secretary of State's interpretation of the federal law to mean that ""Any type of incentive is considered 'payment,' even things as seemingly innocent as cookies or admission to an entertainment event.""

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-30)

52 U.S.C. § 10307(c) [link]

United States v. Garcia, 719 F.2d 99, 102-103 (5th Cir. 1983) [link]

California Secretary of State's Guide to Voter Registration Drives, p. 11 [link]

Must the registration drive worker sign the completed voter registration application, and must the drive or canvasser place other information on applications?

No.

Does the state have a rule requiring a receipt or other tracking information to be provided to the applicant?

No.

Are there restrictions on copying completed voter registration applications prior to submitting them to the election official, or other restrictions on data entry or disclosure?

Michigan law does not address this issue.

Is there a time limit for voter registration groups to submit the voter registration applications they collect?

No; however, groups must submit applications within 30 days before Election Day in order for an applicant to be able to vote in that election.

What are the consequences for failing to submit applications on time?

Michigan law does not address this issue.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-06-30)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.497 [link]

Same-Day Registration

Can voters register and vote on the same day (i.e., does the state offer same-day registration)?

No.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-04-26)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.497(1) [link]

Voters Who Have Moved or Changed Their Name

Can people vote if they moved, but did not update their voter registration with their new address?

If a voter moved to a new address within the same precinct, they can vote at their assigned polling place.

If a voter moved to a new precinct within the same city, township, or village, the voter may vote at the polling place assigned to their old precinct, where they must sign a document transferring their registration record to their new precinct for future elections.

If a voter moved to a new city, township, or village within the same county less than 60 days before Election Day, the voter must go to the clerk's office with proof of their address change. The clerk will then allow the voter to either cast an absentee ballot in the clerk's office or direct the voter to go vote at the polling place assigned to their new precinct.

If a vote rmoved to a new city, township, or village within a different county less than 60 days before Election Day, the voter may vote at the polling place assigned to their old precinct, where they must sign a document transferring their registration record to their new precinct for future elections.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-04-26)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.507b [link]

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.507a [link]

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.507 [link]

Language, Literacy, and Disability Access

Language and Literacy Access

Does the state have any places that must provide election materials in languages other than English, per Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965?

Yes. Clyde Township in Allegan County and Hartford City must provide voting materials in Spanish. Hamtramck City must provide voting materials in Bangladeshi.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-04-26)

Voting Rights Act Amendments of 2006, Determinations Under Section 203, 76 Fed. Reg. 63602 (April 26, 2016) [link]

Does the state have any other rules about providing election materials in languages other than English?

No.

Who can help a voter with reading assistance or translation if they can't vote on their own?

Under Section 208 of the federal Voting Rights Act, any voter who requires assistance to vote due to inability to read or write may be given assistance by a person of the voter's choice, other than the voter's employer, an agent of that employer, or an officer or agent of the voter's union.

Under state law, if a voter states that they cannot mark their ballot for any reason, they may be assisted by two election inspectors.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-04-26)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.751 [link]

52 U.S.C. § 10508 (federal law) [link]

Disability Access

Who can help a voter with a disability if they can't vote on their own?

Under Section 208 of the federal Voting Rights Act, any voter who requires assistance to vote due to a disability may be given assistance by a person of the voter's choice, other than the voter's employer, an agent of that employer, or an officer or agent of the voter's union.

Under state law, if a voter states that they cannot mark their ballot for any reason, they may be assisted by two election inspectors. A voter who cannot mark their ballot due to blindness may alternatively be assisted by any person in their immediate family or by any person who is over 18 years old that the voter designates to assist them.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-04-26)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.789 [link]

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.751 [link]

52 U.S.C. § 10508 (federal law) [link]

Does the state have other rules related to access for persons with disabilities?

If a person's disability prevents them from signing a voter registation application, poll list application, absentee ballot application, emergency absentee ballot application, or absentee ballot return envelope, then the applicant may make their mark or use a signature stamp.

If a person, due to a physical disability, cannot go to the polls on Election Day without another's assistance, they can vote using an absentee ballot.

If a voter develops a disability after the absentee ballot application deadline, the person can apply for an emergency absentee ballot up until 4:00 p.m. on Election Day. The application can delivered to the clerk's office by a person designated by the voter on the application. The clerk will then appoint an election official to deliver the voter their ballot or give the ballot to the person designated by the voter to deliver the ballot to them. The voter may return the ballot to the clekr in any manner the voter prefers, so long as it is received by the clerk no later than 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.

A person with a disability who registers to vote by mail and is a first-time voter in Michigan is exempt from having to show ID when voting.

Michigan does not take away voting rights from people determined to be mentally incompetent.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-04-26)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.759b (emergency absentee ballot) [link]

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.758 (absentee ballot) [link]

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.509t(2) (ID exemption) [link]

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.500 (signing voter registration) [link]

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.755a (signing other election documents) [link]

Early Voting, Absentee Voting, and Other Ways to Vote

Vote-by-Mail

Does the state provide mail ballots to all voters without a request?

No.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-04-26)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.498(1) [link]

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.497(1) [link]

Early Voting/Absentee In-Person Voting

Does the state have early voting/absentee in-person voting?

Michigan has a limited form of in-person absentee voting in which an eligible voter can apply for, receive, and cast an absentee ballot in person at the clerk's office. Only the following voters are eligible to vote an absentee ballot:

  • A voter who cannot vote in person on Election Day without another person's assistance due to a physical disability;
  • A voter who cannot vote in person on Election Day due to their religious beliefs;
  • A voter who cannot vote in person on Election Day because they expect to be absent from their precinct during the entire time the polls are open
  • A voter who is at least 60 years old.
  • A voter who cannot vote in person on Election Day because they are in jail awaiting arraignment or trial.
  • A voter who cannot vote in person on Election Day because they will be an election inspector in a different precinct on Election Day

Additionally, if an voter applies for an absentee ballot in person in the clerk's office, the clerk will not give the voter an absentee ballot until the voter either shows an acceptable photo ID or signs an affidavit saying that they do not have one (see section below on Voter ID and Challenges for further information on Michigan's voter ID requirements).

Source (confirmed on: 2016-04-26)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.761(3) (applying, receiving, and casting ballot) [link]

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.758 (eligibility) [link]

Where does early voting/absentee in-person voting take place?

The clerk of the city, town, or village.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-04-26)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.761(3) [link]

When does early voting/absentee in-person voting take place?

It begins 75 days before Election Day and ends at 4:00 p.m. on the day before Election Day (unless that day is a Sunday or legal holiday).

Source (confirmed on: 2016-04-26)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.761(3) (end date) [link]

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.759(1)-(2) (start date) [link]

What official chooses early voting/absentee in-person voting locations?

State law designates clerks' offices as the only in-person absentee voting locations.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-04-26)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.761(3) [link]

Are lists of early voters/absentee in-person voters published? How?

Completed absentee ballot applications are open to public inspection. Additionally, each clerk keeps lists of voters who were given absentee ballots and voters who cast absentee ballots, and these lists are open to public inspection.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-04-26)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.760 [link]

Absentee Voting by Mail

Can anyone vote absentee by mail without an excuse? If not, what excuses allow a voter to vote absentee by mail?

No. Only the following voters are eligible to vote an absentee ballot by mail:

  • A voter who cannot vote in person on Election Day without another person's assistance due to a physical disability;
  • A voter who cannot vote in person on Election Day due to their religious beliefs;
  • A voter who cannot vote in person on Election Day because they expect to be absent from their precinct during the entire time the polls are open
  • A voter who is at least 60 years old.
  • A voter who cannot vote in person on Election Day because they are in jail awaiting arraignment or trial.
  • A voter who cannot vote in person on Election Day because they will be an election inspector in a different precinct on Election Day
Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-04)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.758 (eligibility) [link]

Deadline to apply for absentee ballot by mail

2:00 p.m. the Saturday before Election Day.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-04)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.759(1)-(2) [link]

How does a voter apply for an absentee mail ballot?

A voter can request an absentee ballot by mailing or personally delivering one of the following documents to their clerk:

  • A completed official absentee ballot application. Blank applications can be downloaded here and are also available upon request from the clerk.
  • A signed letter requesting the clerk send the voter an absentee ballot, so long as the letter describes the reason why the voter is eligible to vote an absentee ballot

Additionally, a member of the voter's immediate family (including in-laws, grandparents, and grandchildren) or someone living in the same home as the voter may mail or deliver the completed official application or letter on the voter's behalf.

A person can request absentee ballots for both a primary election and the following general election with a single request.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-04)

Michigan Absent Voter Ballot Application [link]

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.759 [link]

Can a voter make an online request for an absentee mail ballot?

No.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-04)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.759(1)-(2) [link]

Does a voter need to submit any supporting documentation or verification with an absentee mail ballot or absentee mail ballot application? If so, what is required?

No.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-04)

Michigan Absent Voter Ballot Application [link]

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.759 [link]

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.758 [link]

Are there restrictions on who may request or turn in an absentee mail ballot application for a voter?

Any person may request and deliver a blank absentee ballot application to a voter. However, completed absentee ballot application (or letter requesting an absentee ballot) can be mailed or delivered to the clerk's office only by the voter personally or by:

  • A member of the voter's immediate family (including in-laws, grandparents, and granchildren); or
  • A person who lives with the voter; or
  • Any other registered voter, if the voter cannot return it themself and cannot be helped by an immediate family member or someone who lives with them.
Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-04)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.759(5), (6)(step 2) [link]

Deadline to return absentee ballots

An absentee ballot must be received by the clerk before the time the polls close on Election Day.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-04-26)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.764a(5)(step 6) [link]

Are there restrictions on who may return a voter's absentee mail ballot for them?

Absentee ballots must be returned in person or by mail to the clerk's office. Only the following people may return a voter's absentee ballot for them:

  • A member of the voter's immediate family (including in-laws, grandparents, and granchildren); or
  • A person who lives with the voter; or
  • An election assistant to the clerk, if the voter telephones the clerk's office before 5:00 p.m. on the Friday before Election Day, and says that they cannot return their ballot themself or with help of member of the voter's immediate family or someone who lives with the voter. The clerk will then send an election assistant to the voter's home to retrieve their ballot.
Source (confirmed on: 2016-04-26)

Mich. Comp. Laws §168.764a(step 5) [link]

First-time voters

First-time voters in Michigan who did not register to vote in person cannot vote an absentee ballot by mail; instead, they must cast a regular ballot at the polls on Election Day, or cast an absentee ballot in person at the clerk's office. This requirement does not apply if the voter:

  • Personally delivered their voter registration application instead of mailing it in; or
  • Is 60 years old or older; or
  • Has a disability; or
  • Is a military or overseas voter.
Source (confirmed on: 2016-04-26)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.509t(2) [link]

Are there any special emergency rules that allow a voter to vote absentee by mail if they are unable to make it to the polls at the last minute?

If a voter develops a disability after the absentee ballot application deadline, the person can apply for an emergency absentee ballot up until 4:00 p.m. on Election Day. The application can delivered to the clerk's office by a person designated by the voter on the application. The clerk will then appoint an election official to deliver the voter their ballot or give the ballot to the person designated by the voter to deliver the ballot to them. The voter may return the ballot to the clekr in any manner the voter prefers, so long as it is received by the clerk no later than 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-06)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.759b [link]

Are lists of people who vote absentee by mail published? How?

Completed absentee ballot applications are open to public inspection. Additionally, each clerk keeps lists of voters who were given absentee ballots and voters who cast absentee ballots, and these lists are open to public inspection.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-06)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.760 [link]

Presidential-only ballots

Under federal law, any registered voter who moves out of the state after the 30th day before a Presidential election may vote for President and Vice President either in person at the voter’s previous state of residence or using an absentee ballot from the voter’s previous state of residence.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-06)

52 U.S.C. § 10502(e) [link]

Absentee Voting for Military and Overseas Voters

Who is eligible for military/overseas absentee voting?

Military voters and overseas voters are eligible for military/overseas absentee voting. Military voters include people who are absent from their home on Election Day, and any spouses and dependents who are also absent, due to active service in one of the following uniform services:

  • The army, navy, air force, marine corps, or coast guard
    • The commissioned corps of the public health service, the commissioned corps of the national oceanic and atmospheric administration, or a reserve component of a uniformed service
    • The Michigan national guard
    • The merchant marine

Overseas voters include:

  • A person who lives outside of the United States and is qualified to vote in the last place in which the person lived before leaving the United States.
    • A person who lives outside of the United States and, except for residence, is otherwise qualified to vote in the last place in which they lived in the United States
    • A military voter who is absent from the the United States on Election Day due to active service

Additionally, military/overseas absentee voting can be used by a U.S. citizen who is a spouse or dependent of a person who falls into one of the above categories, even if that spouse or dependent is not qualified to vote in any Michigan city or township, so long as the spouse or dependent is accompanying the person on Election Day.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-04)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168-759a(3), (17) [link]

How do voters apply for a military/overseas ballot?

Military and overseas voters may apply for an absentee ballot in one of the following ways:

  • Under the regular absentee request process, submitting to the clerk an official absentee ballot application or a letter requesting an absentee ballot (see section above on Absentee Voting by Mail for more information); or
  • Submitting a Federal Postcard Application (FPCA)

A military or overseas voter can submit their request in person, by mail, or electronically.

A person can request absentee ballots for both a primary election and the following general election with a single request.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-04)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.759 [link]

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168-759a [link]

Deadline to apply for a military/overseas ballot

The application must be received by the clerk by 2 p.m. of the Saturday before the election.

An exception applies for in-person absentee voting: a voter may request an absentee ballot in person in the clerk's office through 4 p.m. on the day before Election Day election, so long as the voter presents acceptable ID (see section below on Voter ID and Challenges for further information) and immediately votes the absentee ballot in the clerk's office.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-04)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.761(3) [link]

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.759a [link]

Deadline to apply for a military/overseas ballot

Requests to have an absentee voter ballot mailed to the voter must be received by the clerk no later than 2 p.m. the Saturday before the election.

An exception applies for in-person absentee voting: a voter may request an absentee ballot in person in the clerk's office through 4 p.m. on the day before Election Day election, so long as the voter presents acceptable ID (see section below on Voter ID and Challenges for further information) and immediately votes the absentee ballot in the clerk's office.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-04)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.759 [link]

Deadline to return the military/overseas ballot

All ballots must be received by the time the polls close on Election Day.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-04)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.764a(step 6) [link]

Who is eligible to use a write-in absentee ballot? How does it work?

Any military or overseas voter may use the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB) to vote in any regular election or special election in Michigan.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-04)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.759a(13) [link]

On Election Day

Where do you vote in person?

Where do you vote in person?

Voters can cast their votes in the polling place in their precinct.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-08)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.662 [link]

What hours are the polls open on Election Day?

What hours are the polls open on Election Day?

7:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, except in counties that are in the Central Time Zone whose county board of supervisors have passed a resolution adopting Central Time for use in conducting elections. Any person waiting in line to vote at 8:00 p.m. must be allowed to vote.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-08)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.720 [link]

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.721 [link]

In the Voting Booth

Are there rules about what materials a voter can and cannot bring into the voting booth?

Inside of a polling place and within 100 feet of its entrances, voters cannot display any material that directly or indirectly refers to an election, candidate, or ballot question.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-08)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.744(3) [link]

Can a voter bring children into the voting booth with them?

Yes.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-08)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.736a [link]

Are employers required to give employees time off to vote?

Are employers required to give employees time off to vote?

No.

Campaigning, Electioneering, and Recording Devices

Are there restrictions on campaigning/electioneering on Election Day?

Within 100 feet any entrance to the building in which a polling place is located, and within the polling place itself and any connected room, people cannot do any of the following activities:

  • Solicit votes
  • Persuade, or attempt to persuade, any person to vote for or against any candidate, party, or ballot question
  • Distribute or place any stickers, except for stickers distributed by election officials pursuant to the law
  • Solicit donations, gifts, contributions, purchase of tickets, or similar demands,
  • Request or obtain signatures on any petition
  • Post, display, or distribute any material that directly or indirectly refers to an election, candidate, or ballot question.
Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-08)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.744 [link]

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.931(1)(k) [link]

Can a voter wear a button or t-shirt with a candidate's name or logo on it into the polling place when they vote?

No.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-08)

Mich. Comp. Laws §168.744 [link]

*NEW 1** Can a voter use a digital or recording device (such as a cell phone or camera) inside the polling place or voting booth?

Yes; a voter may use a cell phone while waiting in line at the voter processing table if not disruptive to the voting process. However, a voter who has entered a voting station to vote may not use a cell phone, and camera and recording features can never be used in the polls.

Guidance from Secretary of State says photos of ballots should not be posted on social media. In addition, if a voter deliberately shows any person in the polling place how they voted, the voter's ballot is void and must be rejected as an "exposed ballot."

Source (confirmed on: 10/14/2016)

Managing Your Precinct on Election Day, Election Inspectors' Procedure Manual [link]

Election News Issue No. 40, Mich. Dep't of State (Nov. 1, 2006) [link]

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.738(2) [link]

Secretary of State Press Release (Oct. 31, 2014) [link]

*NEW 2** Can a voter use a digital or recording device (such as a cell phone or camera) outside the polling place but within the zone around the polling place where campaigning/electioneering is banned?

State law does not separately address this issue (see previous answer).

Who's at the Polls?

Can persons other than election workers observe inside the polls?

Yes.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-04)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.733 [link]

What are observers inside the polls called in the state?

Challengers.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-04)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.733 [link]

Does the state establish requirements to observe inside the polls?

Challengers can be appointed political parties, and by incorporated organizations and organized committees of citizens that are interested in the adoption or defeat of a ballot question or in preserving election integrity. Each political party, incorporated organization, and organized committee of citizens may appoint up to 2 challengers to serve in a precinct at a time and 1 challenger to serve at a counting board at a time. A challenger can be appointed to serve in more than one precinct.

A challenger must be a registered voter, and cannot be an election inspector or a candidate (except that candidates for county convention delegate positions can serve as challengers in precincts where they are not running).

If an incorporated organization or an organized committee of citizens (but not a political party) wishes to appoint challengers, it must file with the clerk between 20 and 30 days before Election Day a statement describing the reason why the organization has the right to appoint challenger--either (1) the organization is interested in the adoption or defeat of a ballot question, or (2) the organization is interested in preserving election integrity. If the clerk is not satisfied that the organization has provided enough evidence to show that it is devoted to one of these purposes, the clerk may deny the organization the ability to appoint challengers within 2 business days of receiving the statement. If denied, the organization can appeal to the Secetary of State within 2 business days, and the Secretary will have 2 business days to determine whether to overturn the clerk's decision.

Before the opening of the polls on Election Day, the clerk must certify in writing to board of election inspectors the names of each organization allowed to appoint challengers in the city, town, or village.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-04)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.730 [link]

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.731 [link]

*NEW 3* Can a poll observer use a digital or recording device (such as a cell phone or camera) in the polling place?

The Secretary of States' office indicates the use of these devices is prohibited.

Source (confirmed on: 10/9/2016)

Managing Your Precinct on Election Day, Election Inspectors' Procedure Manual [link]

Election News Issue No. 40, Mich. Dep't of State (Nov. 1, 2006) [link]

SOS News Center [link]

Are there other rules on what poll observers can or cannot do?

The board of election inspectors must provide space for the challengers within the polling place to observe the election procedure and each person applying to vote.

Additionally, challengers have the right to do each of the following activities:

  • Under the scrutiny of an election inspector, inspect without handling the poll books as ballots are issued to electors and the electors' names being entered in the poll book.
  • Observe the manner in which the duties of the election inspectors are being performed.
  • Challenge the voting rights of a person who the challenger has good reason to believe is not a registered voter.
  • Challenge an election procedure that is not being properly performed.
  • Bring to an election inspector's attention the improper handling of a ballot by a voter or election inspector.
  • Bring to an election inspector's attention a violation of a regulation made by the board of election inspectors.
  • Bring to an election inspector's attention campaigning being performed by an election inspector or other person in violation of a regulation.
  • Bring to an election inspector's attention a violation of election law or other prescribed election procedure.
  • Remain during the canvass of votes and until the statement of returns is duly signed and made.
  • Examine without handling each ballot as it is being counted.
  • Keep records of votes cast and other election procedures as the challenger desires.
  • Observe the recording of absent voter ballots on voting machines.

A challenger cannot drink alcohol, engage in disorderly conduct, or threaten or intimidate voters.

If a political party, incorporated organization, or organized committee of interested citizens appoints 2 challengers to the same precinct at the same time, only one of them can initiate a challenge at any given time. The challengers must indicate to the election inspectors which one of the two them will have this authority. The challengers may change this authority and must notify election inspectors of the change.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-04)

Mich. Comp. Laws §168.733 [link]

Mich. Comp. Laws §168.730(3) [link]

Provisional Voting and Voters at the Wrong Polling Place

When should a voter be offered a provisional ballot?

Under Section 203 of the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002, if a person claims to be a registered voter in the jurisdiction in which the person desires to vote and the person claims to be eligible to vote in a federal election, but the person’s name does not appear on the official list of eligible voters for the polling place or an election official asserts that the person is not eligible to vote, then that person must be permitted to cast a provisional ballot at that polling place. The person may cast the provisional ballot after executing, before an election official at the polling place, a written affirmation stating that the person is (1) a registered voter in the jurisdiction, and (2) eligible to vote in that election.

Additionally, any person who votes in a federal election as a result of a federal or state court order, or any other order extending the time established for closing the polls by a state law in effect 10 days before the date of that election, may only vote in that election by casting a provisional ballot. Any such ballot cast must be separated and held apart from other provisional ballots cast for different reasons.

Under state law, a voter should be offered a provisional ballot if their name does not appear on the voter registration lis. However, if a person who is not on the voter registration list shows election inspectors a receipt from the Department of State, the clerk's office, or a voter registration agency that indicates the voter registered to vote before the voter registration deadline, and the voter then completes a new voter registration application at the polling place, then the voter will be given a regular ballot.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-04)

52 U.S.C. § 21082 (federal law) [link]

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.523a(1) [link]

If a voter casts a provisional ballot at the wrong precinct, will the ballot be counted?

No.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-04)

Mich. Comp. Laws §168.523a [link]

Following up on a provisional ballot

Follow-up procedures vary depending on whether the voter is casting a provisional ballot because their name does not appear on the voter registration list or because they did not provide proper ID when voting:

Voters Not on the Voter Registration List A voter whose name does not appear on the voter registration list and votes a provisional ballot must provide additional information to the clerk's office after the election if any of the following circumstances apply:

  1. Election inspectors were not able to contact the clerk's office to verify the voter's eligibility to vote in the precinct; or
  2. The voter is casting their ballot in the wrong precinct; or
  3. The voter did not provide to election inspectors one or two forms acceptable ID that prove both the voter's identity and the voter's residence, as described below:
  • The following forms of ID prove the voter's identity, so long as they have a photo of the voter: a Michigan driver's or chauffeur license; a Department of State personal identification card; any other government-issued card; a Michigan higher education identification card; or a Michigan community or junior college identification card.
  • The following forms of ID prove the voter's residence, so long as they contain the voter's address and that address is within the precinct: any of the above forms of ID that prove the voter's identity if the ID also contains the voter's address; a current utility bill; a current bank statement; a current paycheck; a current government check; or another government document that contains the voter's address.

If any of the above three circumstances apply, the voter must mail, fax, or personally deliver to the clerk's office within 6 days after the election one or two of the above forms of ID that prove both the voter's identity and the voter's residence.

If none of the three above circumstances apply, then the voter's provisional ballot will be counted on Election Day, and the voter will not need to provide any additional ID to the clerk.

Voters Who Did Not Provide Proper ID When Voting If a voter's name appears on the voter registation list but they cast a provisional ballot because they did not provide proper ID to election inspectors, the following rules apply:

  • Any voter who did not provide proof of identity ID at the polls: Within 6 days after the election, they must provide ID proving their identity to the clerk's office. The voter must personally deliver the ID to the clerk's office; they cannot mail or fax the ID. Any of the following forms of ID is acceptable, so long as it is current and has a photo of the voter: Michigan driver's or chauffeur license; a Department of State personal identification card; any other federal government or state government ID; a military ID; a U.S. passport; a tribal ID; a Michigan high school student ID; a higher education identification card; a Michigan community or junior college identification card; any other generally recognized photo ID.

  • First-time voters in Michigan who registered by mail and did not provide proof of residence ID at the polls: Within 6 days after the election, they must provide to the clerk's office by mail, fax, or personal delivery a valid and current photo ID or a current paycheck, bank statement government check, utility bill, or government document that shows the voter's name and address.

For more information on the ID requirements, including exemptions, see the "Voter ID and Challenges" section below.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Notice to Provisional Voters [link]

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.523 [link]

52 U.S.C. § 21083(b) [link]

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.813(1) [link]

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.523a [link]

Finding out if a provisional ballot was counted

Election inspectors will inform voters that their provisional ballot has been counted or that it will be reviewed by the clerk within 6 days after Election Day. The clerk must provide a free access system that allows voters to determine whether their provisional ballot counted and, if not, the reason why it was not contacted. Voters should contact their clerk to learn how to access this system.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.523a [link]

Ballot Shortages/Voting Machine Malfunctions

What is the law or procedure on emergency ballots if a polling place runs out of printed ballots? Are handwritten/photocopied ballots allowed?

If a polling place runs out of ballots, the official or board responsible for providing ballots can declare an emergency, and they must deliver emergency ballots to election inspectors in the polling place. Voters must use official ballots prepared by the board of election commissioners; they cannot use handwritten or other ballots.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.560 [link]

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.782b [link]

What is the law or procedure on emergency ballots if a voting machine breaks or malfunctions?

If a voting machine breaks and no replacement machine is available, emergency ballots must be delivered to the polling place by the board or official responsible for providing ballots.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Mich. Comp. Laws §168.782b [link]

Voter ID and Challenges

Voter ID

Who must show ID to vote?

All voters who cast a ballot in person on Election Day or who cast an absentee ballot in person at the municipal clerk's office.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.523 [link]

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.509t [link]

Are there any special requirements for first-time voters?

A first-time voter in Michigan who registered to vote by mail must vote in person (either at the polls on Election Day or, if eligible, by absentee ballot in person at the clerk's office), and when they vote, they must show one of the following forms of ID:

  • A valid and current photo ID; or
  • A copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows the name and address of the voter.

The following voters are exempt from this requirement:

  • Military and overseas voters
  • A person with a disability
  • A person who is at least 60 years old
  • A person who is entitled to vote other than in person under any federal law.
Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.523 [link]

52 U.S.C. § 21083(b) [link]

What ID is acceptable?

The following types of photo ID are acceptable to meet the Michigan's photo ID requirement:

  • Michigan driver's or chauffeur's license or state-issued ID card
    • A Department of State-issued Michigan personal identification card;
    • Any other photo ID issued by the federal government or a state government photo ID;
    • A military ID with a photo;
    • A U.S. passport;
    • A tribal ID;
    • a Michigan high school student ID, higher education ID or community or junior college ID, so long as it has a picutre of the student;
    • Any other generally recognized photo ID.

For first-time voters in Michigan who registered to vote by mail, the following forms of ID are acceptable:

  • A valid and current photo ID; or
  • A copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows the name and address of the voter.
Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.523 [link]

Notice to Provisional Voters [link]

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.509t [link]

52 U.S.C. § 21083(b) [link]

Is a student ID an acceptable form of identification?

Yes, for purposes of photo ID, so long as it has a photo on it.

For first-time voters who registered to vote by mail, a student ID is acceptable so long as it is issued by a public school (not a private school), is current, and contains the voter's name and address.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.523 [link]

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.509t [link]

52 U.S.C. § 21083(b) [link]

Does the address on the ID have to match the address at which the voter is registered?

No.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.523 [link]

If a voter has no ID, are there alternatives such as an oath or witness?

Voters who do not have an acceptable form of ID or failed to bring it with them to the polls can still vote. They simply sign a brief affidavit stating that they're not in possession of a photo ID. Their ballots are included with all others and counted on Election Day unless their right to vote is challenged, in which case they must vote a provisional ballot and then travel to the clerk's office within 6 days after the election to show the clerk an accepetable form of ID..

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.523 [link]

Do elections without federal offices on the ballot (such as off-year gubernatorial elections) have different ID requirements?

No.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Mich. Comp. Laws §168.523 [link]

Challenges to Voters at the Polling Place

Who can challenge a voter at the polling place?

A registered voter, an election inspector, or an appointed challenger.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.733(1) [link]

What are the allowed reasons on which a voter can be challenged at the polling place?

Election inspectors and appointed challengers can challenge a voter who they have good reason to suspect is unqualified, unregistered, or already voted an absentee ballot and is attempting to vote again. A registered voter can challenger another vote if they have good reason to suspect that the voter is not registered.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.727(1) [link]

Is there a requirement for the challenger to provide cause or evidence?

A challenger cannot challenge a voter's right to vote indiscriminately; they must have good reason to believe that the challenged voter is not eligible to vote in the precinct. A person cannot challenge a voter simply to delay or annoy voters

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-08)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.727 [link]

How does a voter defend their eligibility to vote if they are challenged?

After a challenge is issued, a challenged voter will, under oath, answer questions asked by election inspectors as to the voter's qualifications. If the answer to such questions show that the challenged voter is qualified to vote in the precinct, then the voter will be allowed to cast a ballot. Otherwise, the voter will not be allowed to vote.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-08)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.729 [link]

What are the restrictions on polling place challenges?

Challenges are allowed at the polls on Election Day.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-08)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.7(1) [link]

State and Local Election Officials

The State Election Authority

Who/what is the state election authority?

Secretary of State

Source (confirmed on: 2016-04-27)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.21 [link]

Current official

Ruth Johnson

Source (confirmed on: 2016-04-27)

The Secretary of State Ruth Johnson [link]

E-mail

Online contact form

Source (confirmed on: 2016-04-27)

Contact the Secretary of State [link]

Phone

(888) 767-6424

Source (confirmed on: 2016-04-27)

Contact the Secretary of State [link]

Address

Mailing Address:

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

Source (confirmed on: 2016-04-27)

Elections & Voting [link]

Local Election Authorities

What local election official(s) are in charge of major state-level elections (such as the even-year November general elections)?

City, township, and village clerks.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-04-27)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.347 [link]

What is the county-level election official?

County clerk.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-04-27)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.24e [link]

What is the municipal-level election official?

City, township, and village clerks.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-04-27)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.347 [link]

Contact information for local election authorities

InfoCounty clerk information is available at: https://webapps.sos.state.mi.us/mivote/ClerkSearch.aspx

Source (confirmed on: 2016-04-27)

Find Yor Clerk [link]

The Voter File

Voter File Basics

National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) Disclosure Law

Section 8 of the federal NVRA requires that each State maintain for at least 2 years and make available for public inspection and, where available, photocopying at a reasonable cost, all records concerning the implementation of programs and activities conducted for the purpose of ensuring the accuracy and currency of official lists of eligible voters, except to the extent that such records contain information about a person declining to register to vote or information about the identity of a voter registration agency through which a particular voter might have chosen to register.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-04-27)

52 U.S.C. § 20507 [link]

Acquiring a Voter File

Under state procedure, who may acquire a voter file?

Any person. Click here to access a request form.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-04-27)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.509ff [link]

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.522 [link]

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.516 [link]

Who is the state-level contact for acquiring a voter file?

Secretary of State

Address: Michigan Department of State, Bureau of Elections Qualified Voter File Division 430 West Allegan Street - First Floor Lansing, MI 48918-1591

Telephone: 517-241-0340 or 800-310-5697

Source (confirmed on: 2016-04-27)

The Michigan Qualified Voter File: A Brief Introduction [link]

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.522 [link]

How much does the state charge for the file?

A "reasonable cost."

Source (confirmed on: 2016-04-27)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.509ff [link]

What format is the file available in?

The file is available in Fixed Length ASCII format and is provided on a CD-Rom.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-04-27)

Qualified Voter File Data Request Form [link]

Use of the Voter File

Does the state have restrictions on commercial use of the voter file?

No.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-04-27)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.509ff [link]

Does the state have restrictions on non-commercial use of the voter file?

No.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-04-27)

Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.509ff [link]