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How to register to vote in Michigan and request an absentee ballot

Voters in Michigan can register at a clerk’s office all the way through Election Day. Mailed ballots must be received by clerks by 8 p.m. on Election Day to be counted.

Michigan residents cast their ballots in the primary election on Aug. 2, 2022 in Bloomfield Hills.
Michigan residents cast their ballots in the primary election on Aug. 2, 2022 in Bloomfield Hills. (Matthew Hatcher / Getty Images)

Bridge Michigan is a Votebeat partner, and a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that provides passionate and rooted Michigan readers with honest, fact-driven journalism on the state’s diverse people, politics, and economy.

Absentee ballots could be hitting mailboxes of voters who requested them soon in Michigan.

Clerks are required to make absentee ballots available to voters at least 40 days prior to the election, which this year falls on Sept. 29. 

Some clerks around the state are making ballots available even earlier for prospective voters.

There are no restrictions on who can vote absentee in Michigan after voters approved a 2018 ballot initiative allowing any voter to obtain and cast an absentee ballot without providing a reason.

The Secretary of State began taking absentee ballot applications for the November election last month, and clerks will soon begin mailing ballots out to voters who’ve signed up.

How to register

Not registered yet? Eligible voters can register to vote online with a valid Michigan ID or submit an application by mail until Oct. 24. 

To be eligible to vote in Michigan, a person must be:

  • At least 18 years old
  • A resident of a Michigan municipality for at least 30 days prior to Election Day
  • A U.S. citizen
  • Not currently serving a jail or prison sentence

Voters can also register in-person at their local clerk’s office and vote on the spot on Election Day before polls close at 8 p.m. 

Voting absentee

To vote absentee, registered voters must request their ballot by 5 p.m. Nov. 4. 

If voters request an absentee ballot in person at their local clerk’s office, they can fill it out and return it on the spot. 

Absentee ballots can also be returned via mail or in-person at a ballot drop box. The ballot must be sealed in the secrecy sleeve that comes with the ballot, placed in the provided returned envelope and signed for the ballot to be counted.

Mailed ballots must be received by clerks by 8 p.m. on Election Day to be counted in the general election. The Secretary of State’s office recommends ballots be mailed at least two weeks prior to Election Day to ensure it’s received in time. 

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