New Voters Rights

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spike in Michigan, new voting rights have been set for Michiganders.

For the first time since 2018, Michigan voters have the option to vote by mail without a reason.

The State of Michigan mailed absentee voting applications to all registered Michigan voters in May. Those who applied to receive an absentee ballot for the Michigan primary should have already received it in the mail.

If you have received your absentee ballot in the mail, it simply needs to be filled out following the instructions and returned by 8 p.m. on August 4. Postage is required for this option.

If you do not want to mail in your absentee ballot, it can be returned by dropping it off at your local clerk’s office or dropbox (if available) by 8 p.m. on August 4. No postage is required for this option.

“By mailing applications, we have ensured that no Michigander has to choose between their health and their right to vote,” said Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. “Voting by mail is easy, convenient, safe, and secure, and every voter in Michigan has the right to do it.”

The Michigan appeals court ruled election officials may only count those absentee ballots received before polls close at 8 p.m. on Election Day. The court also rejected a request for Benson to tell local clerks to provide paid postage on the return envelopes when sending out absentee ballots, according to The Associated Press.

Officials say that more than one million absentee ballots have been issued to Michigan voters as of early July. So far about 30,000 ballots have been returned one month before election day.

On Election Day, every Michigan voter who offers to vote at the polls must comply with the requirement by showing picture identification or signing an affidavit attesting that he or she is not in possession of picture identification.

If you’ve never registered to vote in Michigan before, you must provide a document showing proof of residency to your city or township clerk’s office before 8 p.m. on Election Day and register to vote with a document showing proof of residency. The document must include your current address and can be in electronic form. You may show:

  • Michigan driver’s license or state ID
  • Current utility bill
  • Bank statement
  • Paycheck
  • Government check
  • Government document.

If you do not have a photo ID, you can still cast a ballot simply by signing an affidavit. The affidavit can be used by:

  • Voters who do not have acceptable photo ID
  • Voters who have photo ID but didn’t bring it to the polls

Once you sign the affidavit, you may cast your ballot. It will be counted with all other ballots on Election Day.

If you do not have a driver’s license or other acceptable photo identification, you can get a state identification card at your local Secretary of State branch office for $10.

State ID cards are free to individuals who are 65 or older or who are blind. Cards are also free to those who have had driving privileges terminated due to a physical or mental disability. The fee can also be waived for individuals who present other good cause for a fee waiver.

For more information on the 2020 Elections, please visit Michigan.gov/Vote.

 

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