Detroit, it’s time to vote. Are you ready?
Tuesday is Election Day and Michigan citizens have until 8 p.m. to cast their ballots, which leaves plenty of time to register and visit the polls. Here are a few important things to know.
See what’s on the ballot
Detroit voters can help decide several statewide races for top positions in the state government, the Michigan Supreme Court, State Board of Education, and three ballot proposals dealing with lawmaker transparency rules, voting regulations and abortion rights. Detroiters can vote for their preferred representative in the Michigan legislature and U.S. House, board members at Wayne State, Michigan State and the University of Michigan, Wayne County executive, Wayne County sheriff, judges in regional courts, and local school board candidates.
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Four seats are open on the seven-member board of education for Detroit Public Schools Community District, which educates roughly 49,000 students in the city. A whopping 18 candidates are vying for a four-year term on the board. Four incumbents are seeking re-election. Learn more about the candidates here.
Sounds like a lot to consider? Check out our guides on Michigan ballot proposals and candidates for positions at state and federal level.
Are you registered to vote?
Voters can check whether they are registered to participate in the election by visiting the Michigan Voter Information Center website. Eligible voters must be a Michigan resident, a U.S. citizen, at least 18 years old and not serving a sentence in jail or prison.
For those registered to vote, the site will provide a look at what’s on the ballot as well as a voter’s designated polling location, satellite voting centers and absentee ballot drop boxes.
For those not registered, there’s still time. Michigan voters have until 8 p.m. on Election Day to visit their local clerk’s office and register to vote in person. Detroit voters should bring valid ID and proof of residency, which includes documents that list their name and address like a current utility bill, bank statement or a paycheck with their address on it. It’s too late to register to vote online.
Voters can also use the state’s website to track the status of their absentee ballot. Those who have already voted by mail, it will show the date when the absentee ballot was received by the clerk. All ballots must be in by 8 p.m. Tuesday. The Michigan Secretary of State suggests voters should turn in absentee ballots by hand or at a drop box on Election Day instead of putting them in the mail to avoid postage delays.
How to vote on Election Day
For those planning to vote in-person, designated polling sites are open from 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. Satellite centers set up for early absentee voting will not be open on Election Day.
At least half of Detroit voters are expected to vote early using an absentee ballot, so election officials haven’t reported serious concerns about long lines at polling places. Still, it’s always a good idea to allow for as much time as possible.
Michigan voters aren’t required to show a photo ID, but anyone who doesn’t have one will have to sign an affidavit confirming their identity. After signing in and verifying their identity, voters wait their turn to fill out a ballot inside a privacy booth.
Voters have the option of selecting a “straight ticket” option to automatically pick all candidates of their preferred political party. Voters who plan to support Republicans and Democrats in various races should not fill out that section.
All voters can access a Voter Assist Terminal to help mark their ballot, which is then counted like any other ballot. Other accommodations are available for voters who have a disability, including the option to vote curbside, if requested at their polling location.
Voters who still have their absentee ballot and decide that they want to vote in person, may do so by surrendering the ballot at their assigned polling place. If a voter has lost their absentee ballot or if it was destroyed, they may sign a statement affirming this and vote at the polls.
Report election misinformation and voter intimidation
Efforts to confuse voters or keep them from participating are a major concern among election officials, who attest to the safety and security of Michigan’s decentralized election system. Individuals who see any attempts to intimidate voters or sow chaos, the Secretary of State wants to hear about it. Notify an election worker or contact the state’s nonpartisan election protection hotline at (866) OUR-VOTE.
Election officials are also on the lookout for misleading or incorrect information being shared. The state is asking voters to report misinformation to Misinformation@Michigan.gov.