Not all communities – or even counties – in Upper Michigan will hold elections next week, but Secretary of State Ruth Johnson is reminding residents to cast ballots in local elections Tuesday, May 7.
“Many of the elections involve local school districts and cities, which means your vote directly affects the community where you live,” said Johnson, Michigan’s chief elections officer. “Please take a few minutes to vote Tuesday if your community is holding an election and be a part of the democratic process.”
Elections will be held in 69 of Michigan’s 83 counties. Polls are open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
To find out if there is an election in their community, voters can visit the Secretary of State website at www.Michigan.gov/sos or check with their county clerk’s office. In addition, the online Michigan Voter Information Center at www.Michigan.gov/vote is an invaluable resource for voters. On the website, voters can make sure they are registered to vote, find their polling location and view a sample ballot. The website is also smartphone-friendly.
There is still time for voters to obtain an absentee ballot. As a registered voter, you may obtain an absentee ballot if you are:
- age 60 or older
- physically unable to attend the polls without the assistance of another
- expecting to be out of town for the entire time the polls are open on Election Day
- in jail awaiting arraignment or trial
- unable to attend the polls due to religious reasons
- appointed to work as an election inspector in a precinct outside of your precinct of residence.
Those who wish to receive their absentee ballot by mail must submit their application by 2 p.m. Saturday, May 4. Absentee ballots can be obtained in person anytime through 4 p.m. Monday, May 6. Voters who request an absentee ballot in person on Monday, May 6 must vote the ballot in the clerk’s office. Emergency absentee ballots are available under certain conditions through 4 p.m. on Election Day.
Residents who registered to vote by mail or via a voter registration drive and have never voted in Michigan are not eligible to vote by absentee ballot in their first election. They must vote in person at their precinct. This restriction does not apply to voters who are overseas, disabled or 60 or older.
Voters may notice a slight change on their ballot application, both at the polls and if they are absentee voters. Under Michigan law, by signing the application, the voter certifies that he or she is a U.S. citizen. The revised application forms also remind voters that they must be citizens in order to vote.
Voters must also fulfill identification requirements under Michigan law. They will be asked to present photo ID at the polls, such as a Michigan driver’s license or identification card. Anyone who does not have an acceptable form of photo ID or failed to bring it with them can still vote. They will sign a brief affidavit stating that they’re not in possession of a photo ID. Their ballots will be included with all others and counted on Election Day. Voters obtaining absentee ballots in person must meet the same photo identification requirement as voters who cast ballots in the polling place.
A specially equipped voting station called the AutoMARK Voter Assist Terminal is also available at each polling location for use by voters with disabilities.