How to vote in the Michigan primaries

Sunday, March 8, 2020 - 4:01pm

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Design by Hibah Mirza

The Michigan primaries are Tuesday, March 10, and for some students, this may be your first time voting. Here’s a guide to help you vote in Ann Arbor, whether you’re a returning voter or voting for the first time.

Who is eligible to vote in Michigan?

Any American citizen who is over the age of 18 by election day can vote in the Michigan primaries, provided you are a Michigan resident at the time you register and have been a resident of your city or township for at least 30 days by election day. You also must not be currently serving a jail or prison sentence.

When do polls open and close?

The polling places open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. on Tuesday.

Where can I go to vote in Ann Arbor?

You can also find the nearest polling to you using this interactive map. For Central Campus, some locations include the Michigan Union, Palmer Commons or the Michigan League. For North Campus, Pierpont Commons is also a polling location.

What do I need to bring?

Voters must bring a form of acceptable photo ID. This includes a Michigan driver’s license, a state-issued ID card, a U.S. passport or University of Michigan student ID. If you do not have an ID or forget to bring it, you can still vote and have your ballot counted after signing an affidavit stating you are not in possession of a photo ID.

Do I need to be registered with a party?

No, there is no requirement to be registered with a political party by Michigan law. However, you do have to choose one of three ballot options: Democratic Presidential Primary Ballot, Republican Presidential Primary Ballot or Ballot without Presidential Primary. 

What should I expect?

The Presidential Primary ballots will list the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates, from which you are permitted to vote for only one party’s nominee. There will also be a section with local proposals to be voted on. For example, Washtenaw County has the Washtenaw Community College Millage Renewal and Restoration proposal. This proposal is meant to restore and renew a 1.00 millage to support Washtenaw Community College, which was previously approved by voters in 2008. You can preview the ballot in your precinct on the Michigan Voter Information Center.

How does same-day registration work?

You must register in person at your local city clerk office (not any of the polling locations). Bring proof of residence, such as a Michigan driver’s license or state ID card, bank statement or paycheck. Documentation must have your name and current address and can be digital or physical.

What do I do with my absentee ballot?

If you already have an absentee ballot but haven’t turned it in, you can turn it into your local city clerk’s office by 8 p.m. on Tuesday, March 10. It must arrive before that time, whether by mail or in person. Postmarks do not count, and by law, absentee ballots that arrive via mail after Election Day must be thrown away.

What if I haven’t gotten my absentee ballot yet?

You can obtain an absentee ballot from your local city clerk until 4 p.m. on Monday, March 9, provided you have a valid photo ID to present. 

What if I voted early, but my candidate dropped out?

Michigan law permits residents who voted absentee to “spoil” their ballot by changing their vote. You can do this by sending a written request to the city clerk or going to the city clerk in person before 4 p.m. on Monday, March 9. You can either request a new absentee ballot or declare that you will vote at the polls. If you receive a new absentee ballot, it must be turned in by 8 p.m. on Tuesday, March 10.

Where can I get more information?

Check out the Michigan Voter Information Center, the City of Ann Arbor website or the Washtenaw County website.