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A list of 4 Election Day "Dos"... and 2 "Don'ts"

Nov 4, 2016

This year, more than 7 million Michigan residents are registered to vote. That’s a record number for the state.

So, now that you’re registered, what should you expect on Election Day?

Here is a guide of Dos and Don’ts to help you out:

Knowing your polling station is the first step to a successful Election Day.
Credit user jaina / Creative Commons

DO: Know your polling place

When you registered to vote, you were assigned a polling place based on your address. More populous regions have multiple polling places within a short distance in order to try to let everyone vote in a timely manner.

To find your polling place, simply check your voter registration on the Michigan Secretary of State website. Here, you’ll find a map that clearly labels where you should show up on Election Day.

If you can't pull up your information this way, contact your local county clerk. Find the number here.

DON’T: Wear campaign gear

You’ll have to save that “I’m With Her” T-shirt or “Make America Great Again” hat for an election night watch party.

Michigan has a ban on any display of election-related materials within 100 feet of a polling place. This includes shirts, hats, and buttons. If you go to a polling place wearing any of these, you will be asked to remove or cover it.

DO: Watch out for voter challengers

There’s been a lot of talk about possible voter intimidation this year. It is important to know that it is illegal for anyone to challenge your right to vote by intimidating or threatening you on Election Day.

Each polling place will have poll watchers that are in charge of making sure that everything is running smoothly and that nobody is scaring away voters.

If you do see illegal or fraudulent behavior at the polls, you should notify an official at the polling place as well as the Michigan Bureau of Elections.

DO: Bring photo ID (but you can still vote without one)

It is important to note that while Michigan does have a voter identification requirement, it is not as strict as some other states' voter ID laws. You can still vote without a photo ID. You just need to sign an affidavit saying you are who you say you are.

Read more on that here

But having a photo ID will make things go more smoothly. Acceptable forms of photo ID include a driver’s license or passport, student or military ID with a photo, tribal ID cards, or any state or federally-issued photo ID.

Read more from the Secretary of State's office here.

DO: Know who you’re voting for

The presidential election has captured the attention of the nation, but believe it or not, there are other elections that will be on your ballot! There are congressional races and a number of other local elections in every district.

And while you can choose to vote "straight ticket," which allows you to vote for each candidate in the party of your choice, there are some non-partisan races that are not included in that option. These include judges and some local positions, such as clerks and commissioners. 

You can see a sample ballot by checking your voter registration. Print it out and consult with your most trusted election advisors -- maybe your mom, your neighbor, or your barber.

To do some research yourself, the League of Women Voters has put together a non-partisan election guide. Go to Vote411.org and enter your information to find out more about the issues and candidates on your ballot. 

(Of course, you can also check out Michigan Radio’s election coverage.)

DON’T: Take a “ballot selfie” 

Everyone's favorite part of Election Day.
Credit user Vox Efx / Flickr

So you successfully got to your polling place and you were able to fill out your ballot. Now you want to tell everyone that you participated in the democratic process!

And while voting is definitely something to be proud of, don’t celebrate by taking a “ballot selfie,” since they are currently illegal in the state of Michigan.

A federal appeals court ruled that the state has the ability to enforce the "ballot selfie" ban. 

Instead of getting a picture inside the voting booth, plan on taking a selfie outside of your polling place.

You’ll have to show off that “I Voted” sticker somehow! 

Election Day is Tuesday, November 8th. Polls will be open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.