Voters in Michigan are preparing for our presidential primary election (March 10, 2020), so I wanted to share a bit of useful information. Most of the information I'm sharing can be verified on the government's page. What makes my credentials to share this information unique is that I have also been an election inspector for more than 25 years. I'm telling you all this to help you as you enter the polls, as well as to help you be polite to the election inspectors working this very long day. Our job is honestly to help as many people as possible vote legally. We are FOR voting, not for preventing people who don't agree with us. That being said, you shouldn't even know who an election inspector supports as a candidate. This post is not to support any candidate or party. Any divisive comments will not be approved for publication. On to the good stuff!
Michigan has a closed primary. This means that you need to declare which ballot you wish to vote, in writing. Think of it like election day being two parties going on at once - not political parties this time, but really fun parties! But you can only attend one. You do not technically have to declare which political party you wish to affiliate with, but you do need to request one ballot or the other.
The exception to this is if there are proposals to vote in your precinct. If you wish to only vote on proposals (if applicable), you can get a ballot without the primary candidates, and just the proposals.
Do you have to show identification to vote on March 10, 2020 in Michigan? The short answer is yes. The slightly longer answer is that if you - for real - do not have identification available, you may fill out a legal, written affidavit that you do not have identification, but are who you say you are, and a registered voter where you are voting, and you will be permitted to vote as usual. Here are the acceptable forms of identification:
- Michigan driver's license or state-issued identification card
- Driver's license or personal identification issued by another state
- Federal or state government-issued photo identification
- U.S. passport
- Military ID with photo
- Student identification with photo from a high school or accredited institution of higher learning
- Tribal identification card with photo
This one is a little crazy, but oh so important. The ballots were printed more than a month ago. Absentee ballots have been issued and returned for weeks already. The candidates listed on the ballot may not all be still running a campaign. Read that again: The candidates listed on the ballot may not all be still running for office. And an election inspector cannot tell you who is or is not a valid candidate on your ballot. It is your responsibility to research your candidates in advance and know that who you're voting for is still a candidate in the race.
Last but not least, one of the things that passed last year is that you don't need a reason to request an absentee ballot. If this is something you would like to do, please visit your local township office ASAP. Absentee ballots are processed the same way as ballots in the precinct. I promise. The township where I work has a room or two of sequestered election inspectors who process the absentee ballots for all of the precincts in our township on election day.
If there's something else you'd like to know, or think I should share here, please let me know! And please, exercise your right to vote!