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How to get an absentee ballot

Michigan absentee ballot, next to it is a brown envelope
No-reason absentee voting has become a popular method of casting ballots in Michigan. Here’s what you need to know. (Shutterstock)

Voting by absentee ballot has emerged as one of the most popular options in Michigan, where nearly 60% of voters used the option during the 2020 presidential election, which was marked by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The pandemic was less prevalent in 2022, but more than 40% of Michigan voters still chose to vote absentee that year, and experts predict those trends will hold as more voters learn about the convenience of voting by mail. 


Here’s what you need to know if you want to vote absentee: 

Michigan voters can obtain an absentee ballot for any reason following the passage of Proposal 3 of 2018

To apply, you can:

  • Request a ballot online by 5 p.m. the Friday before an election. (That means by 5 p.m. on Aug. 2 for the Aug. 6 primary, and by 5 p.m. on Nov. 1 for the Nov. 5 general election.)
  • Request a ballot in person from your city or township clerk’s office by 4 p.m. the Monday before an election. (That means by 4 p.m. on Aug. 5 for the Aug. 6 primary, and by 4 p.m. on Nov. 4 for the Nov. 5 general election)
  • Contact your local clerk and requesting an application be mailed to you
  • Voters with disabilities can also apply online for an accessible electronic absentee voter ballot which can be completed electronically, printed and returned to their local clerk
  • Download an application and returning it by mail or in person with your local clerk

Absentee ballot request forms are available to download online in English, Arabic, Bengali, Farsi, Spanish and in large print format.

For further information on applying for an absentee ballot as a voter overseas or in the military, click here


If there’s less than two weeks until the election, the Secretary of State recommends going in person to your local clerk’s office and requesting an application there. You would then be able to get a ballot, fill it out and submit it, avoiding potential postal delays.

If you already have an absentee ballot filled out but forgot to mail it in, the department also recommends returning it in person to your local clerk within two weeks of the election.


Voters can track the status of their absentee ballot online.

Turned your absentee ballot in but your candidate of choice dropped out? Absentee ballots can be spoiled by submitting a written request to a voter’s city or township clerk. To see who that is for you, click here.

The deadline for spoiling an already turned in absentee ballot is 5 p.m. the second Friday before the election. If not turned in, voters have until 4 p.m. the Monday before an election to spoil their absentee ballot.

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