Michigan voter registration: Deadlines, eligibility to sign up online, by mail, same-day

Voters in Michigan will have more chances to make their voices heard at the polls in 2024.

The state Legislature's early adjournment means that Michigan's presidential primary date moves up to the fourth Tuesday in February — Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, up from the previous March date the state would hold its presidential primaries in the past. Besides the earlier presidential primary, Michigan will hold primary elections for other races on Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2024, and the general election will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2024.

While the presidential race tends to garner the most attention when it's on the ballot, there are a bevy of other important items to consider in 2024 — seats in the Michigan House of Representatives are up every two years, as are congressional seats. Michigan also has an open U.S. Senate seat up for grabs, after Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, announced she would not seek another term.

In Michigan, residents can register to vote for any election up until polls close, but there are earlier deadlines for registering online or through the mail. Here is a guide on how to register to vote in Michigan, and how to cast your ballot at the polls on Election Day, through early voting, or through the mail.

Am I eligible to vote in Michigan?

To be eligible to vote, you must be:

  • A U.S. citizen

  • A Michigan resident for at least 30 days by the time you vote

  • Be at least 17.5 years old, and be 18 by Election Day

  • Not currently serving a jail or prison sentence

If you're unsure if you're already registered to vote, you can check your registration status by visiting the Michigan Voter Information Center at michigan.gov/vote.

Great, I'm eligible! How do I register to vote in Michigan?

Once you've sorted out your eligibility, there are multiple ways to register to vote.

Register in-person at your local clerk's office by obtaining and returning a voter registration application. Along with the application, you must provide proof of residency if applying within 14 days of an election. This can be a valid Michigan ID, utility bills, credit card or banking statements, other government documents and more. Within 14 days of an election, registration has to take place in person at a local clerk's office.

You can register to vote at your local clerk's office up until polls close on Election Day, although it's smart to leave yourself some time to make it your polling precinct if you're registering to vote on Election Day itself, or to just submit an absentee ballot at your local clerk's office.

Register online by visiting the Michigan Voter Information Center at michigan.gov/vote. You can register to vote online up to 15 days before the election.

Register through the mail by printing off an application online at michigan.gov/vote, picking up an application at your local clerk's office, or by requesting your local clerk to mail you an application. Voter registration applications sent through the mail must be postmarked at least 15 days before the election.

Catherine Mracna fills out her ballot while voting at Ferndale High School in Ferndale on Tuesday, November 7, 2023.
Catherine Mracna fills out her ballot while voting at Ferndale High School in Ferndale on Tuesday, November 7, 2023.

Perfect, I'm registered to vote. How do I actually vote?

There are multiple ways to cast your ballot in Michigan. You can vote in-person at your polling location on Election Day while polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Your polling precinct will be listed on the voter registration card your local clerk gives you once you're registered. You can also find your polling precinct by entering the address you're registered to vote at online at michigan.gov/vote.

When voting in person, you will be asked to sign in and provide an ID. If you do not have an ID, you will be asked to sign a form verifying your identity.

Michigan also allows absentee voting - absentee ballots can be submitted in person at a local clerk's office, at a secure dropbox before Election Day or be returned through the mail.

To obtain an absentee ballot, registered voters can apply online at michigan.gov/vote up to 5 p.m. on the Friday before Election Day. Voters can also pick up an absentee ballot at their local clerk's office, or request that an application be mailed to them.

After submitting an absentee ballot, voters can also check the status of their ballot online at michigan.gov/vote. If it's closer to Election Day, it's recommended to return an absentee ballot at your local clerk's office or at a dropbox.

After voters approved a ballot proposal in 2022, early voting will be available in Michigan elections beginning with the Feb. 2024 presidential primary. The early voting period has to extend for at least nine days before Election Day, but communities can choose to offer early voting for up 29 days.

Contact Arpan Lobo: alobo@freepress.com. Follow him on X (Twitter) @arpanlobo.

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This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Michigan voting: How voter registration works, who is eligible