To participate in electing government officials and voicing an opinion on other ballot issues, you must be registered to vote in the State of Michigan. Read this article to find out if you are eligible to vote and learn how to register.
A Michigan resident is eligible to vote as long as they are:
- A Michigan resident at the time they register, and a resident of the city or township for at least 30 days by Election Day
- A United States citizen
- At least 18 years old by Election Day
- Not currently serving a sentence in jail or prison
Registering to Vote
There Are Many Ways to Register to Vote Without Proof of Residency, but You Must Meet the 14 Day Deadline
Up until 14 days before an election, you can register any of the following ways. None of them require proof of residency.
- Online registration
- Download and mail a registration application, but make sure it is postmarked at least 14 days before the election
- Local Secretary of State branch office
- At your city or township clerk’s office, or your county clerk’s office
- Department of Health and Human Services
- Department of Community Health
- Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
- Military recruitment centers
- Voter registration drives
Starting 14 days Before an Election, There Is One Way to Register
If it is within 14 days of the election you want to vote in, the only way to register is to go in person to the city or township clerk’s office where you live and provide proof of residency.
You can register to vote at your local clerk’s office up to and including Election Day. Some clerks’ offices have opened satellite offices specifically for voter registration. Use the Michigan Voter Information Center’s Find Your Clerk page to find your local clerk’s contact information. If you choose to register at your clerk’s office, you must bring proof of where you live. These documents are acceptable (digital copies are fine):
- Michigan driver’s license or State ID card
- Current utility bill
- Bank statement
- Paycheck or government check
- Other government document
If you register within 14 days of Election Day, you must appear in person at your local clerk’s office and provide proof of residency.
If you wait to register to vote until Election Day, you can only do this at your local clerk’s office. You cannot register to vote at your polling location.
Voting Outside of Michigan
All Michigan voters now have the right to vote by mail for any reason. For more information, please read How to Vote. Voting by mail is available to Michigan voters who are voting from within the State of Michigan or any other Michigan citizen voting within the United States. If you are outside of the United States, either as a member of the military or just are just living outside of the country you can still vote. There are special services that provide military and overseas civilians opportunities to vote in elections. If you are a Michigan voter who is either in the military or a civilian that is overseas, fill out the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) from the Federal Voting Assistance Program. By doing this, you have the option to receive an absent voter ballot by e-mail, fax or, regular mail. The FPCA needs to be filled out every year. It can also be used as a way to register to vote. You must send the FPCA to your local clerk based on your home address in Michigan. Use the Michigan Voter Information Center’s Find Your Clerk page to find your clerk’s address.
Voting Rights for People Who Have Criminal Records
In Michigan, an otherwise eligible voter is not allowed to vote in an election if they are currently serving a jail or prison sentence. However, once the person is released from the jail or prison sentence, that person automatically regains their right to vote. This is true even if you are on probation or parole. People who are in jail or prison waiting for arraignment or trial are allowed to vote. The only voting restriction is on people who are in jail or prison serving a sentence.
If you were registered to vote before you went to jail or prison, your voter registration may have been cancelled while you were in jail or prison. If you have been to jail or prison, use the Michigan Voter Information Center to confirm that you are registered before trying to vote.
Re-Registering to Vote
You need to re-register to vote if you:
- Move or change your address
- Change your name
- In some cases, if you have been to jail or prison since you last registered to vote
It is a good idea to check your registration on the Voter Information Center website before Election Day. You can also find your polling place and view a sample ballot using this link.