Sharon Dolente: Voting in Michigan has never been this easy 

Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury

Michigan is once again a national leader with a voting system that works for everyone. Voting is easier than ever before for Michiganders, thanks to voters in nearly every county overwhelmingly passing Proposal 3 in 2018. 

Proposal 3 enables all Michigan citizens who are eligible to register and vote to do so until 8 p.m. on Election Day, and it allows all registered voters to vote before Election Day. On Tuesday, March 10, the presidential primary will be the first statewide election since Michigan’s new laws went into effect. 

Michigan’s current voting system is already making voting in the upcoming primary easier than ever by improving Michiganders’ access to voting. Many citizens who are busy with work and family obligations need more flexibility and options when it comes to voting, and now they have it. Similarly, younger voters away at college have the freedom to conveniently vote at school or at home by voting by absentee ballot. 

With only 12 days left until the presidential primary, there is still time to register to vote and cast your ballot in Michigan. Visit your city or township clerk’s office to register and vote all in one visit. If you have questions about how to register and vote, or experience any challenges along the way, the ACLU and its partners can help. Call with any questions or problems at (866) OUR-VOTE, or visit MichiganVoting.org.

The improvements Michigan made to our voting system will make it possible for more citizens to participate in our democracy especially for communities that have faced disenfranchisement in the past like people of color, new citizens, people with a criminal conviction, people with disabilities and young people.

Between now and 8 p.m. March 10, voters can register and vote all in one visit to their city or township clerk’s office. 

But why wait? Do it today! You’ll need to bring a document with your name and address on it to show you live in that community. This can a Michigan driver license or state ID card, but it could also be a utility bill, paycheck, bank statement or any government document. Electronic copies (on your phone) are fine.

Every city and township clerk’s offices will be open for eight hours over the weekend before Election Day for voters who want to register and vote. Contact your city or township clerk to get their address and exact hours, or check online at the Michigan Voter Information Center here.

Benson, lawmakers hold town hall on redistricting panel, voting changes

There are a lot of exciting updates about the way you can vote in Michigan. To keep track of how these laws make it easier for you to vote, visit MichiganVoting.org

The Know Your Rights Voting Guide has all the information you need to successfully cast your ballot and it is available in English, Spanish and Arabic. The ACLU of Michigan continues to collaborate with a coalition of election officials and voting rights advocates statewide to make resources like Michiganvoting.org available. Together, we are working around the clock to ensure our new voting system runs smoothly. 

As with any new system, there may be hiccups along the way, so we encourage you to be patient, vote before Election Day if possible, and if you have any questions or issues call the Election Protection Hotline at (866) OUR-VOTE. The ACLU of Michigan will work with election officials at the state and local level to address any voting challenges that arise and to ensure they are resolved before the presidential election in November.

Clerks deluged with absentee ballot requests before Michigan primary

Our democracy is strongest when more voices are heard. That’s why we need every citizen to know their voting rights and to share that information with their family, friends, and broader community. 

Please remember, you do not need a photo ID to vote in Michigan! If you have it, bring it. But if not, ask to sign a simple form. People who are incarcerated, or formerly incarcerated, can register and vote as long as they are not currently serving a sentence. 

And if you cannot access your polling location or clerk’s office because of a physical disability, then the elections officials are required to bring a ballot to your car. When in doubt, please visit MichiganVoting.org, to make sure you are comfortable and ready to vote. 

Michiganders, it’s your time to exercise the rights you fought for. Now get out there and vote.

Sharon Dolente
Sharon Dolente is an attorney and the ACLU of Michigan's Voting Rights Strategist. She played a key role in writing and leading the Proposal 3 (Promote the Vote) ballot initiative that voters approved in November 2018. She has participated in voter protection efforts since 2004, managed the statewide voter protection effort for a presidential campaign in 2012, and managed the largest and most coordinated nonpartisan program Michigan ever had in 2014. She also has more than a decade of experience in private practice both in civil rights and criminal defense.