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Disability Network Southwest Michigan

VOTE – Presentation

Vote button

If you were unable to attend our “VOTE: Know Your Rights” presentation, or if you did attend and want to review the information that was presented, we have outlined the information below for your reference.

Make A Plan

This presentation is all about making a plan to vote and feeling prepared to cast your ballot. You don’t need to remember all the options we are going to present but what you do need to do is make your plan!

Here are some things you can do ahead of time to be prepared to vote:

  • Find out if you are registered, and if you are not, register NOW! You must be registered in order to vote in Michigan.
  • Request an absentee ballot if you want to vote early from home.
  • View a sample of your ballot ahead of time. Visit www.mi.gov/vote to find your specific sample ballot

If you have any questions about registering to vote or voting, contact our Information and Referral department and our staff can help you:

  • Phone: (269) 345-1516 or toll free: 1- 877-674-5209.
  • Email: info@dnswm.org

Am I Registered to Vote?

To find out if you are registered already, visit Michigan Voter Information Center (www.mi.gov/vote), or call your city/township clerk’s office.

Register to Vote

You can register at any time up to 8:00 p.m. on Election Day (November 3), however, it is recommended that you register early – the earlier you register, the more options you’ll have for how to register.

You can register and vote in Michigan if all of these statements are true:

  • You are a U.S. citizen
  • You are a resident of a city or township in Michigan for at least 30, and days or will be by Election Day
  • You are at least 17.5 years old and will be 18 years old by Election Day
  • You are not currently serving a sentence in jail or prison.

How do I register to vote ?

Before October 20, 2020 you can register by any of these methods:

  • Online at www.mi.gov/voterRegistration
  • At Secretary of State office
  • At your city, township, or county clerk’s office
  • At any state agency that provides public assistance or services to people with disabilities
  • By mailing a completed voter registration application postmarked by October 19, 2020
  • At a voter registration drive

After October 20, 2020 visit your city/township clerk’s office and provide “proof of residency.” Any official document that has your name and address of residence, this can be: Driver’s License or State ID card, utility bill, bank statement, pay stub, government check or any government document.

Voting from Home before Election Day

FIRST, Request Your Ballot — one of three ways:

  • Fill out an application for an absentee ballot, OR
  • Michigan Voter Information Center: www.mi.gov/vote, OR
  • Call your city/township clerk and ask for application to be mailed to you.

Look for your absentee ballot to arrive in the mail and follow the instructions carefully.

SECOND, Complete Your Ballot

  1. Mark only with a blue or black ink pen.
  2. Completely darken the oval next to your choice (DO NOT mark the ballot with an X or check mark!)
  3. Place the ballot in the secrecy sleeve so that votes cannot be seen and the numbered tab is visible.
  4. Place the secrecy sleeve in the return envelope.
  5. Sign and date the return envelope.
  6. The signature on the return envelope needs to match your signature on file.
  7. If someone helped you mark your ballot, they must also sign the envelope as directed.

THIRD, Turn in Your Ballot – one of three ways:

  • Deliver to your city/township Clerk’s office, OR
  • Use the drop box outside your city/township clerk’s office, OR
  • Mail  it.

Completed absentee ballot must be received by 8:00 p.m. on Election Day at your city/township clerk’s office. It is recommended that after October 20, you hand deliver your ballot to your city/township, to ensure it arrives in time to be counted on Election Day.

Applying for an Accessible Absentee Ballot

Voters with disabilities that affect their ability to read a printed ballot may apply for an accessible absent voter ballot that can be completed electronically.

After you fill out your absentee ballot online, print it and place it in an envelope. Sign the outside of the envelope, and deliver it to your local clerk by mail, drop box, or in person.

Follow this link for an accessible absentee ballot application.

Voting In Person before Election Day

You can go in person to your city/township clerk’s office and complete an absentee ballot in person and hand it in while you’re there. (See instructions above for completing an absentee ballot.)

Voting on Election Day

Where do I go to vote?

You must vote at the designated location depending on where you live. If you have moved, take proof of residency to your city/township clerk’s office and become registered at your new location.  

There are several ways to find your polling location:

  • Look it up at www.mi.gov/vote
  • Check your Voter Identification card
  • Call your city/township clerk
  • Call the nonpartisan Election Protection hotlines (see below)

What are the rules I need to know for voting in person?

  • Polls are open 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. If you are in line by 8:00 p.m. they must let you vote.
  • Do NOT wear political clothing, stickers, or pens to the polls.
  • If you requested an absentee ballot but you want to vote in person, you need to bring your absentee ballot with you to the polling place so the election workers can invalidate it.

What about Identification?

If you do have ID, bring it and show it to the poll worker – this will make the process faster.

You don’t need to have ID to vote. If you don’t have ID, you will be asked to sign a simple form (affidavit) to proceed with voting.

What if I need help voting?

You have the right to vote independently. You also have the right to ask for help.

  • If you want to use the accessible voting machine, tell the election official as soon as you arrive.
  • You have the right to get help from the election officials.
  • You have the right to get help from whomever you choose, as long as that person is not your employer, an agent of your employer, or an official or agent of your union.

Is my Voting Location accessible?

You have the right to an accessible voting location and an accessible voting machine. If your voting location is not accessible or there is no accessible voting machine, call your city/township clerk right away and report it and ask for an alternative site.

Here is a list of accessible voting machines used in Michigan. You can click each for a demonstration of how to use the accessible voting Machines. Most Michigan counties will be using the Dominion voting machine for accessible voting. Click on the machine name links to view a video tutorial of that particular machine.

  • Counties using the ExpressVote accessible voting machine: Bay, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Kalamazoo, Macomb, Mason, and Roscommon,
  • Counties using the accessible Hart Intercivic voting machine: Clinton, Eaton, Genesee, Hilsdale, Ionia, Livingston, Montcalm, Muskegon, Oakland, Ottawa, and Washtenaw.
  • All other counties will be using the Dominion voting machine. (The accessible voting portion of video starts a minute or so into the video).

Where to go for help

If you have any questions about registering to vote or voting, contact our Information and Referral department and our staff can help you:

  • Phone: (269) 345-1516 or toll free: 1- 877-674-5209.
  • Email: info@dnswm.org

Hotlines

If you encounter difficulties voting, you can call the Election Protection hotlines:

  • English: 866-OUR-VOTE  (866-687-8683)
  • Española: 888-VE-Y-VOTA (888-839-8682)
  • Arabic: 844-YALLA-US (844-925-5287)
  • Bengali, Cantonese, English, Hindi, Korean, Mandarin, Tagalog, Urdu 0r Vietnamese: 888-API-VOTE (888-274-8683)

Handouts

The following are links to additional information that was provided in the webinar: