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How to Get an Absentee Ballot in Michigan

In this Article:Applying for an Absentee BallotCasting Your Absentee VoteVoting From AbroadEmergency Absentee VotingDetermining Your ElegibilityCommunity Q&A

While it's always good to fulfill your civic duty, and perform one of the proudest responsibilities we enjoy as Americans, voting day does not always occur when we're there for it. Whether you are overseas, out of town on business, or unable to leave your home for personal reasons, Michigan makes it possible for you to vote by mail using the Absentee Ballot. This article will show you how to do it, no matter what your situation.

Part 1
Applying for an Absentee Ballot

  1. 1
    Download and complete the Michigan Absentee Ballot Application. You can find it here: http://www.michigan.gov/documents/AbsentVoterBallot_105377_7.pdf. Prepare to answer the following questions:
    • Which election or elections you will be absent for.
    • If you're a United States Citizen.
    • The reason for your absentee request. This includes the following options:
      • You'll be absent from your community on voting day
      • You're physically unable to attend the polls
      • It's against your religion
      • You are an election official in another precinct
      • You're 60 years of age or older
      • You're in jail awaiting arraignment or trial
    • Your registered address, as well as where you wish the absent voter ballot to be sent.
    • Your signature.
  2. 2
    Complete the application. When you're finished, send the application to the local clerk. You can find their contact information here: http://webapps.sos.state.mi.us/mivote/clerksearch.aspx
    • Your signature will be checked against the signature you have on record, both to confirm that you are registered, and that you are filling out the form legitimately.
    • Your ballot application must be received by your local clerk no later than 2 p.m. on the Saturday prior to the election.[1]

Part 2
Casting Your Absentee Vote

  1. 1
    Fill out your ballot. When you receive your ballot at the address you indicated in the application, fill it out as completely as possible.
  2. 2
    Mail it back. Use the special return envelope sent to you. Be sure to put a stamp on it, then return it to your local clerk.
    • The local clerk must receive your absentee ballot by 8 p.m. on Election Day.
    • Your ballot will not be counted unless the signature on your return envelope matches the signature you have on file.
    • If you received assistance voting on the ballot, then the signature of the person who helped you must also appear on the return envelope.
    • Only you, a family or household member, a mail carrier, or an election official may deliver your signed absentee voter ballot to your clerk's office.

Part 3
Voting From Abroad

  1. 1
    Request an Absentee Ballot. Do this at least 90 days before the election. If you know you'll be overseas come election day, requesting an absentee ballot each January will ensure you receive your ballot in a timely manner.
    • States and territories must send absentee ballots 45 days before an election.
  2. 2
    Get help if necessary! If you have not received your ballot 30 days before the election, contact the state election office and the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP). You might be eligible for back-up ballot. You can contact the FVAP here:[2]
    • On their website at http://www.fvap.gov
    • Via email at [email protected]
    • Contact Michigan's state election office via email, here: [email protected]
    • Michigan's state election office address is:
      • Secretary of State
      • Michigan Department of State
      • Lansing, MI 48918
      • 1+(517) 373-2540
  3. 3
    Mark your votes on the ballot. Be sure to read the instructions before filling out your ballot. Then fold the ballot in such a way as to conceal your votes.
  4. 4
    Place the ballot in the return envelope. Seal it securely, and write "USA" below the clerk's address.
  5. 5
    Sign and date the return envelope. Your signature must appear on the return envelope in the designated location, or your ballot will not be counted.
    • If you are disabled and require assistance to mark your ballot, the person who assisted you must complete the section on the return envelope that is titled "TO BE COMPLETED ONLY IF VOTER IS ASSISTED IN VOTING BY ANOTHER PERSON."
  6. 6
    Mail your ballot as soon as possible! Place the necessary postage on the envelope, and send it via United States mail or other public postal service, express mail service, parcel post, or common carrier.
  7. 7
    Send your ballot from your overseas location. Do not mail it to a family member or friend in the United States and have that person send it in. Your vote could go uncounted if the envelope doesn’t have an overseas postmark.

Part 4
Emergency Absentee Voting

  1. 1
    Apply for an Emergency Absentee Ballot. Occasionally an unexpected situation may arise where you need to use an absentee ballot. You are eligible to apply under the following conditions:
    • If you have become physically disabled
    • If a family death or illness requires you to leave your community for the entire time the polls are open on election day.
  2. 2
    Contact your local clerk to obtain an Emergency Absentee Ballot. 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.
    • Emergency Absentee Ballots must be returned to the clerk's office by 8 p.m. on election day.

Part 5
Determining Your Elegibility

  1. 1
    Find out if you are eligible for absentee voting. You may do so only if you are registered to vote in Michigan, and you fall into one of the following categories:[3]
    • 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.
    • Note: If you are a first time voter, and register by mail, you must vote in person the first time you 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.

Community Q&A

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  • Question
    Do I have to reapply for the ballot before every election?
    Top Answerer
    Yes. Absentee ballots are not automatically sent out to voters who have used them in the past.
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    • Your absentee ballot cannot be returned to the clerk by email or fax. A ballot returned that way will not be counted.

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