Election 2012
3:46 pm
Mon November 5, 2012

6 things to know before you head to the polls in Michigan

Election Day is tomorrow.

That means voters should know who the candidates are and where they can find the polls.

Cheat sheets in polling places are allowed (this isn't a test), but political paraphernalia is not allowed inside the polls (so leave your Joseph F. Burke  for 15th District Judge t-shirt at home).

For those who need more information, Michigan Radio has assembled a last minute list of things to know.

Polls open tomorrow, November 6, at 7:00 a.m. and close at 8:00 p.m.

1) You can vote even if you don't have an ID

Michigan law requires voters to fulfill an identification requirement before voting. For those with an ID it's easy--simply present any of the following:

  • Driver’s license or personal ID card issued by another state.
  • Federal or state government-issued photo ID.
  • U.S. passport.
  • Military identification card with photo.
  • Student identification with photo from a high school or an accredited institution of higher education.
  • Tribal identification card with photo.

Those without an ID may still cast a ballot after signing an affidavit attesting that they are not in possession of acceptable picture identification.

2) You can see a sample ballot before you enter the polling booth

Visit Publius or the Secretary of State to view your sample ballot and find your polling location.

3) You can vote in person even if you've already received an absentee ballot

If you received an absentee ballot but have yet to return it to your clerk, you still have two ways to vote on Election Day.

You or a member of your immediate family may return the completed absentee ballot to your clerk before the the polls close, or you may vote in person.

From the Election Protection Coalition:

A voter may vote in person even if they have applied and received the absent voter ballot, as long as they have not already mailed or delivered a voted ballot back to the clerk.

  •  If the voter has already received an absent voter ballot they must return it to the board of election inspectors in his or her precinct. The inspectors will mark it “canceled.”
  •  If the voter has not received the ballot or lost or destroyed it, they must sign an affidavit to that effect before an election inspector. Note, however, that such voters are subject to challenge.

4) You can vote a "straight party" or "split" ticket

Voters may choose to vote "straight party," selecting all of the candidates from a single party or they may split their ticket.

There are two ways to vote a split ticket.

The first is simple--just select the candidate you want for each of the races.

The second is a little more complicated. Say you are a die-hard Republican, but your best friend, a Democrat, is running for Drain Commissioner in your district.

Assuming you want to vote for him, there is an easy way to split your ticket. You can select the "straight ticket" option then simply vote for your friend in the Drain Commissioner race. Your vote in that particular race will override the "straight ticket" for just that race.

5) Don't forget the nonpartisan section of your ballot

While you may omit any portion of your ballot without invalidating it, your democratic duty should compel you to vote the whole thing.

Be sure to scan down to the nonpartisan section to vote for judges and schools boards. And finish it off with votes on the statewide and local ballot proposals.

Michigan Radio has done extensive coverage on the six statewide proposals you will face tomorrow.

For more information on the Supreme Court race, listen to a conversation between Michigan Radio's Jennifer White and Bridge Magazine correspondent Peter Luke.

6) You shouldn't see a citizenship checkbox

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson announced last month that she would not appeal a federal judge's ruling that the checkbox was unconstitutional.

Johnson included the box on applications for ballots during the August primary even after Governor Rick Snyder vetoed a bill meant to require it.

Remember that there is a ban on cameras and on wearing campaign-related clothing to the polls.

For voter information and troubleshooting on Election Day call 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683), a hotline provided by the nonpartisan Election Protection Coalition.

- Jordan Wyant, Michigan Radio Newsroom