LANSING — Secretary of State Ruth Johnson reminds residents that they have until Feb. 8 to register to vote in the March 8 presidential primary election.
“Each vote is equally important, and so I encourage everyone who is not yet registered to vote to do so,” said Johnson, Michigan’s chief election officer. “Voting is one of the foundations of our democracy so I urge you to participate.”
The polls will be open on Election Day from 7 a.m.-8 p.m.
To register, applicants must be at least 18 years old by Election Day and be U.S. citizens. Applicants must also be residents of Michigan and of the city or township in which they wish to register.
Voters may register by mail, at their county, city or township clerk’s office or by visiting any Secretary of State office. The mail-in form is available at www.Michigan.gov/elections. Firsttime voters who register by mail must vote in person in their first election, unless they hand-deliver the application to their local clerk, are 60 years old or older, are disabled or are eligible to vote under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act.
To check their registration status, residents may visit the Michigan Voter Information Center at www.Michigan. gov/vote, where they also can view their sample ballot. Residents can also find information there on absentee voting, how to use voting equipment and how to contact their local clerk. In addition, they will find a map to their local polling place.
The presidential primary is open to all registered voters. Michigan does not require voters to register as a member or supporter of a political party so voters can choose to participate in either the Democratic or Republican party primary. When voters request an absentee ballot or arrive at the polls and fill out their application to vote, they must indicate in which party’s primary they wish to vote. They will then receive a ballot listing candidates for that party. Some communities will have additional special local election items on the ballot. Voters who wish only to vote in the special election may request a ballot that does not include presidential candidates.
Voters who qualify may choose to cast an absentee ballot. As a registered voter, you may obtain an absentee ballot if you are: age 60 or older, physically unable to attend the polls without the assistance of another, expecting to be absent from the, community in which you are registered for the entire time the polls will be open on Election Day, in jail awaiting arraignment or trial, unable to attend the polls due to religious reasons, appointed to work as an election inspector in a precinct outside of your precinct of residence.
Those who wish to receive their absentee ballot by mail must submit their application by 2 p.m. March 5. Absentee ballots can be obtained in person anytime through 4 p.m. on March 7. Voters who request an absentee ballot in person on March 7 must fill out the ballot in the clerk’s office. Emergency absentee ballots are available under certain conditions through 4 p.m. on Election Day.
As a reminder, voters will be asked to provide identification when at the polls on Election Day. They will be asked to present valid photo ID, such as a Michigan driver’s license or identification card. -— G.G.