FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT VOTING
How do I know if I am eligible to vote in this election?
In order to vote in a U.S. election, you must
Be a U.S. citizen
Be a resident of a city or township in Michigan for at least 30 days (or will be by Election Day)
Be at least 17.5 years old and will be 18 years old by Election Day
Not be currently serving a sentence in jail or prison.
How do I know if I am registered to vote if I am a Michigan resident?
Type your information into mi.gov/vote to find information about your voter registration status, how to register, in which precinct you will vote, and your polling location.
Are there deadlines I need to be aware of?
Yes. October 19 – last day to register online - after that, must register in person at
your clerk’s office with government-issued ID and proof of residency
October 20 – recommended date by which to mail in your absentee ballot. After
that, it is recommended that you drop it off in the drop box at your clerk’s office.
November 2, 4:00 pm – last time to in-person request an absentee ballot at your clerk’s office
November 3, 8:00 pm – last time for in-person same day registration at your clerk’s office
November 3, 8:00 pm – last time to in-person return an absentee ballot at your clerk’s office
Can I vote early?
Yes. To avoid long lines voting on November 3, early in-person absentee voting is available at your clerk’s office from Monday, September 28 until Monday, November 2, 2020 at 4 p.m. You don’t even have to request an absentee ballot ahead of time. You can go to your clerk’s office, request the absentee ballot application, fill it out, hand it in, receive your absentee ballot, fill it out, and hand it in, thus having voting in the 2020 general election! Check your clerk’s office for their weekend-ahead-of-November 3 in-person absentee voting hours at www.mi.gov/vote (click on the “My Clerk” tab, and enter your address to find information for your city/township clerk).
How do I register if I am a Michigan resident?
Go to Michigan.gov/vote to register. The deadline to register online to vote is October 19, but you can register in person at your city or township clerk’s office until 8:00 pm on Election Day. If you are registering in person, you’ll need a government issued ID and proof of residency (an official document with your name and address, such as a utility bill or lease).
How do I register if I am an out-of-state student?
You can choose to register in your home state; check campusvoteproject.org/state-student-voting-guides for specific information on your state’s voting policy. You can choose to vote in Mt. Pleasant without being required to have a permanent driver’s license address change. To do so, you will need to register in person at your city or township clerk’s office with a government issued ID and proof of residency in Mt. Pleasant or Union Township.
Should I register at my permanent address or at my Mt. Pleasant address?
As students, you are eligible to choose either your permanent address (“back home,” where you live while not taking classes) or where you live as a student—such as a residence hall or an off-campus apartment. You can only choose to register and vote at one of these, but it is entirely your choice. If you are registered at one of those addresses but would like to change your registration to the other, you may do so by re-registering to vote.
Do I need a driver’s license to register to vote?
No, any state-issued I.D. is sufficient.
I live in a residence hall. If I register in Mt. Pleasant, will this be the address I use?
Yes, make sure to use your Residence Hall’s official street address. Remember that when you move from the residence hall, you should update your address with the Secretary of State.
How do I find my polling place?
Type your information into mi.gov/vote to find information about in which precinct you will vote and your polling location.
Can I vote online?
No, you can’t vote online. You either need to vote in person at an official polling place or by casting an absentee ballot.
I’ve heard that all Michigan voters can now vote absentee in Michigan. What is absentee voting and how do I do it?
Voting absentee (aka “mail-in voting” and “vote by mail”) is useful for students who do not wish to drive home on Election Day or who otherwise would like to avoid voting in-person on November 3. To vote absentee, you first request an absentee ballot from your clerk be sent to you where you are currently living. When you receive the ballot, fill it out and then you mail it in prior to the election (use two $.55 stamps) or drop it off at your clerk’s office or at the drop box where you are registered.
How do I apply for an absentee ballot?
Go to mi.gov/vote, click on Absentee Voting, and follow the instructions.
I’ve already voted in a previous election. Do I need to worry about anything?
Nope, not really. Just remember to vote at your polling place on November 3 or apply for an absentee ballot ahead of the election!
Can I still vote if I requested an absentee ballot but it didn’t come by Election Day or if I decide I’d rather vote in person?
Yes. You will need to cancel (spoil) your absentee ballot and vote in person. You can do this at the Clerk’s Office before 4pm the day before the election, or at your polling place on Election Day. You will sign an affidavit spoiling your absentee ballot that you requested and did not receive--to make sure that nobody votes twice—and be given a new ballot to vote.
How do I know that absentee ballots are legit and safe?
Election officials use a lot of different methods to keep your ballots secure, regardless of if you mail it or vote in person. Your signatures on registration forms and absentee ballots are compared to existing signatures the state has on file, to make sure that it’s the same person. The election official keeps a database of who has requested absentee ballots, who has already turned them in, and who hasn’t requested a ballot to make sure that there is no fraud. Election officials, regardless of their party, care about safe and secure elections and work to make sure that they are well-run.
I mailed my completed absentee ballot. How can I be sure it has arrived and will be counted?
You can track the progress of your absentee ballot (when you application was received, when your ballot was sent to you, and when your ballot was received at your clerk’s office) at mi.gov/vote. If you don’t see this information in a timely manner, be sure to call your clerk’s office to check.
Does changing my address affect my financial aid status?
No. Your financial aid status is not affected, even though you may no longer have the same permanent address as a parent/guardian.
How do I know what’s on my ballot?
Type your information into mi.gov/vote to see what’s on your ballot.
How am I supposed to know something about every candidate/issue on the ballot?
One of the best resources for Michigan voters is vote411.org, which allows voters to type in their address to load a sample ballot. This will then load up a list of candidate biographies and information about candidates.
On Election Day, do I have to vote for everything on the ballot?
Nope! But it’s always a good idea to know as much information as you can on each ballot issue before heading into the polls.
I missed the October 19 deadline to register online to vote. Can I still register to vote in the November 3 election?
Yes, but now you will have to do so in person. You can register to vote any time up to 8:00 pm on Election Day. You need to go to your city or township clerk’s office with a driver’s license or state ID and proof of residency such as a current utility bill, bank statement, or paycheck or government check. These documents must have your name and current address, and digital copies of these proofs of residency are acceptable.
If you aren’t able to go home to your permanent address before the election, as a college student, you may register to vote in Mt. Pleasant or Union Township, depending upon where you live. You will need to bring the same documents as described above, and note that your CMU bill is considered proof of residency.
How do I vote IN PERSON before Election Day?
Step 1: Go to your city/township clerk’s office.
Step 2: Fill out an application for an absentee ballot and submit it to the staff.
Step 3: Fill out your ballot, place it in the envelope provided, sign the outside of the envelope with your official signature, and submit it to the staff.