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Formerly incarcerated citizens provided resources, information on voting access ahead of November election

MDOS now offering toolkit and educational opportunities

After announcing the Returning Citizens Initiative (RCI) partnership with the Michigan Department of Corrections earlier this year, the Michigan Department of State (MDOS) has launched additional tools and resources to ensure formerly incarcerated individuals understand their voting rights and how to exercise them ahead of the November election.

“One of my top priorities this year has been to ensure that every Michigan voter knows their rights and how to ensure their vote counts and their voice is heard,” said Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. “Every formerly incarcerated individual who is of age has a right to vote in Michigan, and we’re proud to be working with many of our Partners in Democracy to ensure this community has the resources they need to vote safely and securely.”

This week, the department shared its Returning Citizens PSA, and made available on its website a voter toolkit to be utilized by organizations that work with returning citizens. The toolkit, developed in partnership with the University of Michigan School of Information, helps dispel myths about post-incarceration voting, and empowers returning citizens with accurate information about their right to vote. Assistant Secretary of State Heaster Wheeler also held an Oct. 8 townhall focusing on returning citizens and accessing the vote.

While the RCI focuses on ensuring eligible parolees can receive their Michigan driver’s license or state ID upon release, which enables them to be automatically registered to vote, voters are reminded that photo identification is not necessary to register or to vote. Those without a Michigan driver’s license or ID are encouraged to register to vote in person at their local clerk’s office, and can do so up to and on Election Day. Voters who are not able to present a photo ID at the time of voting at their polling location on Election Day can also sign an affidavit to receive their ballot.

Individuals needing to apply for a first-time, corrected or replacement driver’s license or state ID card are also eligible to schedule a priority license/ID appointment at any Secretary of State branch office through Nov. 2, between 3 to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Appointments can be made online at Michigan.gov/SOS or by calling 888-SOS-MICH.

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