Michigan Absentee Ballot Guide

Last updated May 04, 2014
Military and Overseas voters should visit FVAP.gov. Long Distance Voter's information should only be used by voters with US mailing addresses.

First-time voters who register by mail must vote in person the first time they vote. You can get around this restriction by registering in person, or by requesting your absentee ballot in person from your local clerk. This restriction does not apply to overseas voters, voters who are handicapped or voters who are 60 years of age or older.

Important Deadlines

  • Voter Registration Form: Postmarked 30 days before the election
  • Absentee Ballot Application: Received by 2:00 p.m. on the Saturday before the election
  • Voted Absentee Ballot: Received by 8:00 p.m. on election day

How to vote by absentee ballot

Register to vote

Recommended: Use our Voter Registration Tool.  Enter your information, print and sign the completed form, and mail it to the address printed on the form.  For faster processing, you can mail the form directly to your local clerk.

You can also download and fill out Michigan's voter registration form.  Mail the completed form to your local clerk

NOTE: Michigan law requires that the same address be used for voter registration and driver license purposes. If you register to vote at a different address than the DMV has on file for you, the Secretary of State will automatically change your drivers license to match your voter registration address.  The Secretary of State will then mail you an address update sticker for your driver license. 

Verify your voter registration

It's best to double check your registration before applying for your absentee ballot. Verify your voter registration today and avoid problems down the line. If there's a problem with your registration, register again before proceeding.

NOTE: Most people receive their voter registration cards in the mail 2-3 weeks after registering to vote. Don't worry if you lost your voter registration card. You don't actually need it to vote.

Make sure you're eligible to vote by absentee ballot

You may vote by absentee ballot in Michigan if you are registered to vote and you fall into one of the following categories:

  • you are 60 years old or older
  • you are unable to vote without assistance at the polls
  • you are expecting to be out of town on election day
  • you are in jail awaiting arraignment or trial
  • you are unable to attend the polls due to religious reasons
  • you are appointed to work as an election inspector in a precinct outside of your precinct of residence.

First-time voters who register by mail must vote in person the first time they vote. You can get around this restriction by requesting your absentee ballot in person from your local clerk. This restriction does not apply to overseas voters, voters who are handicapped or voters who are 60 years of age or older.  

Apply for your absentee ballot

Download and complete the Michigan Absentee Ballot Application  Mail or hand-deliver your completed application to your local clerk.  Once your request is received by the local clerk, your signature on the request will be checked against your voter registration record before a ballot is issued. You must be a registered voter to receive an absentee ballot. Requests for absentee voter ballots are processed immediately. Absentee voter ballots may be issued to you at your home address or any address outside of your city or township of residence.

Your absentee ballot application must be received by your clerk no later than 2 p.m. the Saturday before the election.

Receive, complete and return your absentee ballot

Fill out your ballot, sign where indicated, put a stamp on it, and then mail your ballot back to your local clerk.  The City or Township Clerk must receive your absentee ballot by 8pm on election day.  Your ballot will not be counted unless your signature is on the return envelope and matches your signature on file. If you received assistance voting the ballot, then the signature of the person who helped you must also be on the return envelope. Only you, a family member or person residing in your household, a mail carrier, or election official is authorized to deliver your signed absentee voter ballot to your clerk's office.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to provide ID when I register to vote in Michigan?

You must include your Michigan driver's license number or your Michigan state ID card number on your voter registration form.  If you don't have either of these numbers, you'll need to include a copy of your ID with your voter registration form.  Acceptable forms of ID include: a COPY of a current and valid photo identification that shows your name and Michigan OR a copy of a paycheck, utility bill, bank statement or government document that shows your name and Michigan address.

NOTE: All Michigan voters must show photo ID when voting at the polls.  It's best to show your Michigan driver's license or Michigan non-drivers ID card.  If you don't have either of those documents, you can show a driver's license or personal ID card from another state, a US passport, a military ID, a student ID, or a tribal ID card.  Your ID does not need to show your Michigan address.

I am a first-time Michigan voter.  Can I vote by absentee ballot?

First-time voters who register by mail must vote in person the first time they vote. You can get around this restriction by requesting your absentee ballot in person from your local clerk and showing your ID at that time.  This restriction does not apply to overseas voters, voters who are handicapped or voters who are 60 years of age or older.  

Do I need to provide ID when I vote by absentee ballot in Michigan? 

No. You can't vote by absentee ballot in Michigan at all if you haven't already met the various voter ID requirements, so only properly identied voters can vote by absentee ballot.  

Can I vote by absentee ballot on a permanent basis?

Sort of.  Michigan allows voters to place themselves on a "Permanent Absentee Voter List."  Once you're on list, you'll automatically receive an Absentee Voter Application before every election.  You'll still need to return the absentee ballot application to your local clerk - and you'll still need to indicate a valid reason for applying for an absentee ballot - before they'll mail you an actual absentee ballot.  If you think that you'll regularly need an absentee ballot, you should absolutely add yourself to this list.  Contact your local clerk to learn more.. 

I need an emergency absentee ballot in Michigan.  What can I do?

You can apply for an Emergency Absentee Ballot if you have become physically disabled or if a family death or illness requires you to leave your community for the entire time the polls are open on election day.  Requests for Emergency Absentee Ballots must be submitted after the deadline for applying for a regular absentee ballot but before 4 p.m. on election day. Contact your local clerk to obtain an Emergency Absentee Ballot. Emergency Absentee Ballots must be returned to the clerk's office by 8 p.m. on election day.

Can I vote in person before the election in Michigan?

No, Michigan does not allow in-person early voting.

Additional Information

State Election Website: http://www.michigan.gov/sos
Email: secretary@michigan.gov
Local Election Officials: Your Local Election Official is the best person to contact if you have questions.  They'll be able to provide up-to-date information on rules and deadlines. 

 

Every person who shares helps us reach three more voters.

Sharing this page is the easiest thing you can do to directly increase voter turnout this year.

Join our awesome mailing list!