What to know before voting in General Election in Michigan on Nov. 3, 2020

Important information for voting in US presidential election

Ridgeland, Miss., precinct worker Cliff Smith offers people a "I Voted" sticker as they exit after voting in the party presidential primary, Tuesday, March 10, 2020. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis) (Rogelio V. Solis, Copyright 2020. The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

DETROIT – The 2020 presidential election is quickly approaching, and we want to make sure you’re prepared to cast your vote.

On November 3, Americans will vote to either elect a new president and vice president, or reelect the incumbent president and vice president of the U.S. Votes will also be cast for congressional seats and various state and local-level offices.

What to know before voting in Michigan:

When is the November election?

The 2020 General Election is on Tuesday, November 3.

Are Michigan polls still open for in-person voting during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic?

Yes, polls will be open for voters on November 3 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. -- as they are for all Michigan elections.

During the Michigan Primary Election in August, face masks were not required to be worn to vote. That is likely also the case for the November election, however, wearing face coverings to the polls is still highly encouraged to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

All registered Michigan voters do also have the option to instead vote by mail using an absent voter ballot.

Vote-by-mail option for Michigan voters

The state of Michigan mailed absentee voting applications to all registered Michigan voters in May for both this year’s August and November elections.

Michigan voters who have already applied to receive an absent voter ballot for the presidential election began receiving their ballot as early as September 24.

There is still time to request a mail-in ballot in Michigan for the presidential election on November 3, if you haven’t already.

You can apply to receive an absentee ballot on the state’s website right here.

Once you receive your absentee ballot in the mail, it simply needs to be filled out following the written instructions attached and returned before the deadline.

A Michigan absent voter ballot can be returned by mail to your local clerk’s office so long as it is received by 8 p.m. on November 3. Postage is required for this option.

Michigan absentee ballots can also be returned by dropping them off at your local clerk’s office or drop box (if available) by 8 p.m. on November 3. No postage is required for this option.

Ballots can be tracked online here after they’ve been dropped off or returned by mail.

Click here to learn more about voting by mail in Michigan for the 2020 General Election.

What will my ballot look like?

The 2020 General Election will include races for offices in national, state and local governments.

All American voters will choose to either elect a new president and vice president, or reelect the incumbent president and vice president of the U.S. Every ballot across the country will identify Democratic, Republican and third-party candidates running for president and vice president of the U.S.

The Democratic National Committee has formally endorsed Joe Biden as the 2020 presidential candidate for the Democratic Party. Biden has announced Kamala Harris as his running mate.

The Republican National Committee has formally endorsed Donald Trump, incumbent, as the 2020 presidential candidate for the Republican Party. Mike Pence, incumbent vice president, will run alongside Trump in the 2020 election.

Third-party Libertarians and Green Party candidates will also be running for president on the ballot in the General Election.

The remainder of the ballot will look different to voters across the U.S. and Michigan.

General Election ballots will vary for each Michigan county and district to include local elections exclusive to each region.

Michigan voters can view a sample of what their specific ballot will look like for the November 3 election online. Click here to view a sample of your Michigan ballot for the 2020 General Election.

Can I still register to vote?

Yes, Michigan residents can register to vote at any time up to 8 p.m. on Election Day -- November 3 -- at their city or township clerk’s office.

If you are registering another way, your completed voter registration application must be received or postmarked by October 19, 2020 in order to vote in the November General Election.

Michigan residents can register to vote or update their voter registration information online here.

Click here to learn more about the Michigan voter registration process.

How can I look up my voting precinct?

The Michigan Secretary of State Voter Information Center allows you to: Verify your Voter Registration OR Find your Polling Place.

Do I need my voter registration card in order to vote in person?

No. As long as you are in the correct polling location, your name will appear on the registration list supplied to your precinct.

The Voter Identification Card is for your reference and is not required to vote. If you did not receive or lost the Voter Identification Card, call your local Clerk for a replacement or visit the Michigan Voter Information Center to check your registration status.

When you go to the polls to cast a ballot, you will be asked to produce photo identification. The requirements are the result of a 1996 law determined to be enforceable by the Michigan Supreme Court in 2007.

The following types of photo ID are acceptable:

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

The ID does not need your address. If you do not have photo ID or do not bring it with you to the polls, you may still vote. Simply sign an affidavit stating that you are not in possession of photo identification. Your ballot is included with all others and is counted on Election Day.

Can I wear election-related clothing to the polls?

Michigan has prohibited the practice of displaying election-related materials at the polls for decades. This includes clothing and buttons as well as materials such as pamphlets, fliers and stickers. You cannot display such items in the polling place or within 100 feet of an entrance to a polling place. If you go to the polls with a shirt or button bearing election-related images or slogans, you will be asked to cover or remove it.

Have a question? Let us know

Fill out our 4YI form here and we’ll find the answers for you.

About the Authors:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.

Ken Haddad is the digital content and audience manager for WDIV / ClickOnDetroit.com. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013. He enjoys suffering through Lions games on Sundays in the fall.