To register to vote you must be ...

  • a U.S. citizen;
  • at least 18 years of age by Election Day;
  • a resident of Michigan and the city or township where you are applying to register to vote.

How to Register

You can register to vote for federal, state and local elections by mail; at your county, city or township clerk’s office; or by visiting any Secretary of State branch office.

You may also register at the same time you renew your driver’s license by mail. Eligible drivers receive a voter registration application in the mail with their driver’s license renewal information.

When to Register

You must register at least 30 days before the election. This gives the clerk time to process the forms and send you a Voter Identification Card.

Change of Address

If you move within a city or township, you must update your address. This can be handled through your local clerk, at a Secretary of State branch office, by mail or at any other location where voter registrations are accepted.

Whenever you move to a new city or township, you must re-register to vote.

The residential address used for your voter registration must be the same as the address on your driver’s license. Consequently, when you submit a driver’s license address change, it will be applied to your voter registration. Similarly, when you submit a voter registration address change, it will be applied to your driver’s license.

First-time voter

If you have never voted in Michigan and you registered by mail, you must appear in person to vote in the first election in which you wish to participate. This requirement does not apply if:

  1. You personally hand deliver the mail-in registration form to your county, city or township clerk’s office instead of mailing the form.
  2. You are 60 years of age or more.
  3. You are disabled.
  4. You are eligible to vote under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act.

If you have never voted in Michigan and you registered by mail, you may also be subject to identification requirements provided under federal law. The identification requirements are explained on the mail-in registration form.

Outside the U.S.

If you are temporarily outside the U.S., you may use a Federal Postcard Application (FPCA) form to register. The FPCA forms are distributed through U.S. embassies and military bases. A Michigan resident who moves and registers out of state may not re-register to vote in Michigan until he or she re-establishes residency here.

How to Vote

To vote, simply appear at your assigned polling place on Election Day. The polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Where to Vote

Your Voter Identification Card lists your precinct number and your assigned polling place location. If you do not receive a Voter Identification Card within three weeks after registering, contact your city or township clerk’s office to confirm your registration status. You may also check your status on the Michigan Voter Information Center Web site at

Absentee Ballots

Absentee ballots are available for all elections. You may vote by absentee ballot if you:

  • Are unable to attend the polls without assistance.
  • Are 60 years of age or older.
  • Expect to be absent from your city or township for the entire time the polls are open on Election Day.
  • Are in jail, awaiting arraignment or trial;
  • Have been assigned to work as a precinct inspector in a precinct other than where you are registered.
  • Are unable to attend the polls because of religious beliefs.

If any of these situations exist, you can obtain an absentee ballot by writing your city or township clerk. You must state the reason why you need an absentee ballot and you must sign the request. A preprinted absentee ballot application form is available from your city or township clerk upon request. Application forms also are available on the Department of State Web site at www.; click on “Elections in Michigan.”

Send the completed application to your city or township clerk for federal, state, city and township elections.

Outside the U.S.

Federal Postcard Application (FPCA) can also be used to apply for an absentee ballot if you are temporarily outside the U.S. The FPCA must be signed under oath unless you, your spouse or your parents are serving in the armed forces or Merchant Marines.

Absentee Ballot Deadlines

If you want an absentee ballot mailed, your application must be received by 2 p.m. the Saturday before the election. Make your request early to allow for delivery time. A voter eligible to vote by absentee ballot may also vote in person at the clerk’s office any time up to 4 p.m. the day before the election.

All absentee ballots must be received by the clerk’s office no later than 8 p.m. on Election Day.

If you know before the primary that you will be unable to vote in person at the general election, you may request absentee ballots for both elections at the same time.

Emergency Absentee Ballots

You may be eligible for an emergency absentee ballot if a family death or illness requires you to leave your community on Election Day, or you are unable to attend the polls because of personal illness or accident. The emergency must have occurred late enough that you could not file a regular absentee ballot request. Have someone deliver your written request for an emergency absentee ballot to the clerk’s office before 4 p.m. on Election Day. Emergency ballots must be returned by 8 p.m. on Election Day.

Voters Requiring Assistance

Special accommodations are available for voters who have disabilities.

If you require voting assistance, ask the election workers for help; a reason for the needed assistance does not have to be stated. Two inspectors will assist you in the voting station.

An elector who is visually impaired, has a disability or is unable to read or write may be assisted with his or her ballot by any person of the voter’s choice, other than the voter’s employer or agent of that employer or an officer or agent of a union to which the voter belongs.

A voter-assist terminal is available for use by voters who have disabilities. This ballot marking device is designed to permit voters with disabilities to vote independently without the assistance of another person. For more information, contact your city or township clerk. Hearing-impaired residents may access the Bureau of Elections at (517) 373-2540 by calling the Michigan Relay Center toll-free at (800) 649-3777.