EDITORIAL: Michigan voters — know your rights

Published 8:53 am Wednesday, September 23, 2020

With election day right around the corner, many are confused about where and when they can vote. Whether you intend to vote in person Nov. 3, by mail or in your local clerk’s office, here are some tips to make the process easier:

• If you don’t get a ballot in the mail by Oct. 1, call your local township or city clerk (not the county clerk) and ask to vote in his or her office.

• If you do get a ballot in the mail, return it to your local clerk ASAP, in person or in the drop box.

• If you mail your ballot, put two stamps on it and build in plenty of time to reach your clerk.

• You can vote in your clerk’s office starting Sept. 25. Call for an appointment or open hours.

• You can take your voted absentee ballot to the polls on Nov. 3. If you don’t have it for any reason, tell the election worker that you didn’t return the ballot, and you can vote a regular ballot. They will verify your ballot was not returned. Attempting to vote twice is a felony.

Check your voter registration or register to vote online at michigan.gov/vote. You can also track your absentee ballot.

In the Nov. 3 election, you can vote “straight ticket” by checking the party box at the top of the ballot. However, you can vote straight ticket and also vote for individual candidates of other parties. Check the party box, and vote for candidates of other parties as you like. Every vote counts. Vote the back of the ballot for Michigan supreme court judges and other nonpartisan candidates by name.

We encourage as many as able to vote however possible this election season. There are many misconceptions surrounding elections, especially as recent laws have changed voting requirements to encourage more voters to weigh in. Did you know:

1. You do not need a driver’s license or photo ID to vote in Michigan. If you don’t have a photo ID, or don’t have it with you, you can still vote a regular ballot. You will be required to sign your name on an affidavit on the back of your application, but you can vote if your name is in the poll book. If not in the poll book, you can vote a provisional ballot that may be verified later.

2. Felons can vote in Michigan If not serving a prison sentence. Register online.

3. You can take a list of candidates into the voting booth, but don’t leave it. You can take a helper into the voting booth — tell the election workers.

4. If you spoil your ballot or it gets rejected by the machine, ask for a new one. Voting is not an easy process and the election workers are there to help. Ask for assistance if you need it.

5. If you are in line by the time polls close, you have the right to vote. Don’t let anyone harass you during the voting process or while you’re in line. If you feel your vote is being interfered with tell the election workers. They are there to help.

Opinions expressed are those of Leader Publications’ editorial board. This includes general manager Ambrosia Neldon, managing editor Sarah Culton and sports editor Scott Novak.