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Secretary of State reminds voters of election options

Aug. 4 statewide primary election: Voters can vote safely from home or in person

Voters can safely cast their ballots in Michigan’s statewide primary election on Aug. 4 to determine candidates at the local, state and federal levels for the general election on Nov. 3.

The Aug. 4 primary election has a partisan section and voters should only vote in one party section. Voters must choose whether to vote for candidates in either the Democratic Primary or Republican Primary (or neither). If a voter crosses over and votes for candidates in both primary sections, none of those votes will count. Every voter can vote in the nonpartisan and proposal section of the primary ballot.

The Secretary of State encourages voters who already have a ballot at home to fill it out and sign the back of the envelope. Then, with the election a week away, voters should put it in the mail immediately or, to avoid possible U.S. Postal Service delays, deliver it to their local clerk’s secure ballot drop box if they have one, or to the clerk’s office if possible.

In-person voting will be available in every jurisdiction for voters who choose to do so and will be provided in accordance with social distancing and safety protocols to ensure the safety of voters and election workers. Wearing a mask is strongly encouraged.

Download the Stay Safe voting guide and Safe Voting fact sheet for more details.

Applying for an absent voter ballot

Voting from home is a right all Michigan voters have and is a safe way to vote and protect your health, and the process is secure.

To obtain an absent voter ballot, voters must submit a request to their local clerk in one of the following ways:

— Voters with a Michigan driver’s license or ID may apply online for an absent voter ballot at Michigan.gov/Vote.

— Voters may download and complete an absent voter ballot application at Michigan.gov/Vote, print it and sign it, OR write out a request for an absent voter ballot and sign it.

— Signed applications/requests may be mailed to the clerk OR scanned or photographed and emailed to your clerk. Make sure the entire application, including your signature, is readable in the picture.

— You can find your clerk’s contact information at Michigan.gov/Vote or by calling your city or township office.

— Accessible absent voter ballot applications are available at Michigan.gov/Vote. Voters with qualifying disabilities may apply for an accessible electronic ballot that can be marked remotely, printed and returned to the clerk.

— Requests to have an absent voter ballot mailed to you must be received by your clerk no later than 5 p.m. the Friday before the election (July 31). However, to avoid possible U.S. Postal Service delays as Election Day nears, voters are encouraged to request their absent voter ballot in person at their clerk’s office.

Voting and returning an absent voter ballot

Once your request is received by the local clerk, your signature on the request will be checked against your voter registration record before a ballot is issued. After receiving your absent voter ballot, you have until 8 p.m. on Election Day to complete the ballot and return it to the clerk’s office. Your ballot will not be counted unless your signature is on the outside of the return envelope and matches your signature on file.

If you’re already registered at your current address, you can request an absent voter ballot in person at your clerk’s office anytime up to 4 p.m. on the day prior to the election.

In-person voting available

Beginning 40 days prior to Election Day, voters have the option of voting early in their clerk’s office until 4 p.m. on the day before the election.

Polling places will be open in every jurisdiction on Election Day for voters who want to vote in person and will follow distancing, hygiene and safety protocols. Voters are encouraged to wear masks and maintain social distance while at the polls.

Each polling location will have at least one voting station adapted to allow a person to vote while seated. In addition, all voters, including voters with disabilities, have access to a Voter Assist Terminal in all polling places. The Voter Assist Terminal helps the voter mark a ballot. It will mark the ballot with the voter’s choices but does not tally the votes. Once the ballot is marked, it is counted in exactly the same fashion as all other ballots.

You can register to vote through Election Day

Citizens who are not yet registered to vote but who wish to do so in the Aug. 4 election may do so at the office of their local clerk up until 8 p.m. on Election Day. You can find your clerk’s information at Michigan.gov/Vote.

Proof of residency must be provided if registering within two weeks of an election. Acceptable documents include a driver’s license, state ID card, current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check or other government document. Documents must have name and current address. Digital copies are acceptable.

Be democracy’s MVP: Sign up to be an election worker today

Election workers are the Most Valuable Players of our democracy, ensuring free and fair elections for all. And our democracy needs election workers more than ever for the upcoming elections in August and November. Serving as an election worker is a paid position, and all election workers are trained on proper protocols.

During the coronavirus crisis, election workers are needed to assist clerks and count ballots. They will adhere to strict public health guidelines, including exercising social distancing, using sanitary equipment, and maintaining strong hygiene to protect themselves and others from coronavirus transmission.

Interested voters can sign up at Michigan.gov/DemocracyMVP.

Elections are the foundation of our democracy, and the way that all Michiganders can hold their leaders accountable in times of uncertainty.

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