What Voters Need To Know
Are you registered to vote? Do you want to vote absentee? Where should you go on Election Day? We're here to help! Read on for basic information about the local election process. Or if you're ready to check out your sample ballot, click here!
NOTE: The deadline to register to vote in the May 2, 2017 election was Monday, April 3, 2017.
Special thanks to the University of Michigan Language Resource Center's staff and volunteers for providing translations of The Basics page in Spanish and Chinese! [Click here for Spanish translation] [Click here for Chinese translation] NOTE: These translations relate to the Nov. 8, 2016 election.
HOW TO VOTE ABSENTEE
In Michigan, you can vote absentee if you meet one of these requirements:
- 60 years of age or older
- absent from the community on Election Day
- physically unable to vote at the polls without assistance of another person
- unable to attend the polls because of religious beliefs
- appointed a poll worker in a precinct other than your own
- confined to jail awaiting trial or arraignment
Here’s the form to apply for an absentee ballot for Ann Arbor residents: Click here. You can mail it to the Ann Arbor clerk's office at Larcom City Hall, 301 E. Huron St., Ann Arbor MI 48104. After you apply, the clerk’s office will mail the ballot to you with instructions.
ALERT: Saturday, April 29 is the deadline to request an absentee ballot application BY MAIL for the May 2, 2017 election. Ann Arbor voters can request an absentee ballot application by calling the clerk’s office at 734.794.6140. (That Saturday, the clerk’s office is open from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. The office is located on the second floor of city hall, 301 E. Huron.)
The final deadline to apply for an absentee ballot IN PERSON is 4 p.m. on Monday, May 1.
Alert for first-time Michigan voters: If you register to vote by mail or through a voter registration drive, you cannot vote absentee in your first election – you MUST vote in person on Election Day. However, if you register in person at a Secretary of State branch, county elections division or city/township clerk’s office, you will be able to vote absentee in your first election. (This restriction doesn't apply to overseas voters, voters who are disabled or voters who are 60 years of age or older.)
All absentee ballots are counted on Election Day.
WHERE TO VOTE
You can find your polling place online at the Secretary of State’s website: Click here.
For Ann Arbor voters, the city clerk’s website includes a map of polling locations: Click here. (That site also includes a map of Ann Arbor's ward boundaries. Fun fact: The city charter requires that the wards be shaped like pie wedges!)
As long as we're talking about FUN, check out the Ann Arbor Ward Challenge, an action-packed test of your ability to identify where this city's wards are located! (Note: It requires a mouse or trackpad to play.) The game is from the creative gray cells of Chris Salzman and Steve Kemsley of Ann Arbor's ScopeCreep Studios, so you have them to thank for your addiction. Check out their other games here.
THE SCOOP FOR ELECTION DAY
On Election Day, you’ll need to:
1) Know where to go. Check for your polling location by clicking here.
2) Know when to go. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
3) Take a photo ID or be prepared to sign an affidavit stating that you didn’t bring your photo ID. Acceptable photo IDs include:
- Michigan driver’s license or personal ID card, or a driver’s license or personal ID issued by another state.
- Federal or state government-issued photo ID.
- U.S. passport.
- Military ID card with photo.
- Student ID with photo from a high school or an accredited institution of higher education.
- Tribal ID card with photo.
4) Be prepared. Before you go to the polls, get a sample ballot (click here to find yours) and do some homework to make informed decisions. We can help! We'll be updating this site soon with more info about what's on the May 2 ballot.
NOTE (not applicable for the May 2 election, but worth knowing anyhow): There's some confusion about whether you can vote straight-ticket and also choose individual candidates, including write-ins. The answer is yes – you can vote for a write-in candidate even if you're also voting a straight-ticket (also known as straight-party) ballot. The ballot tabulator will count all of the votes in the partisan section that apply to the straight ticket and will also count your votes for individual candidates, regardless if the vote is for a write-in candidate or a candidate with a different political party affiliation.
One final note: In Michigan, people who've been convicted of a felony do NOT lose the right to vote, except for any time they may spend in prison.
After the polls close, you'll want to find out the results, right? You can see local results on the Washtenaw County elections division website: Click here.
LOOKING AHEAD: WANT TO RUN FOR OFFICE?
By now you're totally inspired about democracy and local governance, right? Of course you are! If you're thinking about running for an elected position in Ann Arbor, the city clerk's office provides info about what to do. For other elected positions, the Washtenaw County elections division gives details about steps you'll need to take. We at CivCity also hope to eventually develop online resources and in-person workshops for people who are interested in running for local office. Stay tuned!