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How and where to vote in Michigan on Election Day

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  • People can register to vote until 8 p.m. on Election Day
  • The Secretary of State expects clerks to finalize results 24 hours after polls close
  • Three executive offices and three ballot proposals are up for a statewide vote

Election Day is Tuesday in Michigan, and if you don't feel prepared, don't worry. We have everything you need to know before casting a ballot.

Three major state offices are up for election on Nov. 8: Michigan governor, secretary of state, and attorney general.

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Democrat incumbent Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will face Republican challenger Tudor Dixon. Dixon is a former steel industry executive who supports an abortion ban and increasing parental rights in schools.

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Republican Kristina Karamo is challenging Democrat incumbent Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. Karamo, of Oak Park, was a poll challenger in Detroit who rose to prominence after questioning Michigan's 2020 presidential election.

Democrat incumbent Attorney General Dana Nessel is facing Republican attorney Matthew DePerno. DePerno, a Portage-based tax attorney, wants to outlaw critical race theory. A special prosecutor is deciding whether he’ll be charged with vote tabulator tampering. 

Former President Donald Trump has endorsed all three GOP candidates, who stand behind his baseless claims that people rigged the 2020 election to favor Joe Biden. 

Michigan voters will also decide the fate of three ballot proposals. 

Proposal 1 would change state term limits and require financial disclosures of lawmakers and statewide elected officials. 

Proposal 2 would allow nine days of early in-person voting, private donations for public elections and several other voting changes.

Proposal 3 would amend Michigan's constitution to protect people's right to an abortion and invalidate a dormant 91-year-old ban on the procedure. 

Here is a comprehensive guide to all the candidates and issues you can vote on today.

Still have questions about the voting process? Here are the answers:

When and where can I vote?

In-person voting for the general election is from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at polling places, depending on where you live. Find your polling place here

It's Election Day, but I'm not registered to vote. Can I still register?

Yes, residents can still register to vote on Election Day at their city or township's clerk's office by 8 p.m.

To register, residents must prove they live in Michigan with a state ID or driver's license, current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, or another government document, like a passport. Voters can also sign an affidavit attesting to their ID and their residency. 

People under 18 cannot vote, and neither can people serving a jail or prison sentence. 

OK, what should I expect when I get to the polling place?

Generally, election workers will greet voters, ask for a form of ID, and sign them in. 

There are several types of IDs you can use to sign in:

  • Driver license
  • State ID
  • U.S. passport
  • Military ID with photo
  • Student ID with a photo from a high school or accredited college, or university
  • Tribal identification card with photo

After signing in, voters can expect to wait for a secure polling station to open up. An election worker will give them a ballot and remind them to fill in the circle. 

What if I need an accessible machine because I have a disability?

All polling places must provide voters with an assisted terminal that helps them mark a ballot if needed. 

While the terminal marks a person's vote, it does not tally the votes. Once finished, election officials process the voter's ballot just as they would anyone else's vote. 

A person with a disability may vote independently or ask for assistance from an election official.

If a voter is blind or unable to read or write, they may get assistance from anyone who is not their employer, an agent of their employer, or an agent or officer of their labor union. 

People may also request curbside voting. If voters have a disability, they can send an ally in to request the service, and an election official will bring the ballot to them.  

Polling places can ensure voting accessibility to people with disabilities by unlocking doorways and providing alternatives to stairs, such as ramps or elevators. 

What if there is an emergency and I can't make it to the polls?

People can still have their vote counted by using an emergency absent voter ballot. The emergency had to happen at the time that made it impossible for someone to have gotten a regular absentee ballot. The person must request an emergency vote before 4 p.m. on Election Day.

Will there be a winner on Election Night?

While media outlets or political parties may declare winners on Tuesday night, the increase in mail-in voters will delay official results. 

The Secretary of State expects that about half of the ballots cast on Nov. 8 will be absentee. State officials say it may take up to 24 after the polls close to get official results. A total of 1.6 million voters requested absentee ballots for the general election. 

State legislators did pass a new two-day processing law, but Jake Rollow, a secretary of state spokesperson, said many clerks would not take advantage of it because lawmakers passed it so close to the election. 

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"Some clerks have already hired their staff or just aren't quite sure that the trade-off is worth it because of the limited scope of the bill," Rollow said. 

Is my vote safe?

While voter fraud has been a hot-button topic since the 2020 presidential election, your vote is safe, and there has never been proof of widespread voter fraud during that election. 

According to the Michigan Office of the Auditor General, voters legally cast and election workers properly processed more than 99.9 percent of all the ballots in Michigan's 2020 presidential election.

Editor's note: This story was updated at 10:08 a.m. Nov. 8 because it contained incorrect information about how ballots are printed.

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