What to know before voting in Michigan Primary Election on Aug. 4, 2020

Important information for voting in upcoming Michigan election

"I Voted" stickers distributed at polling places. (WDIV)

DETROIT – It’s almost time again to vote in Michigan -- that is, unless you already mailed in your absentee ballot ahead of time.

The 2020 Michigan Primary Election is coming up on August 4, in which voters can show their support for the state and local leaders who they want to run in the general election in November.

On the ballot this time around will be U.S. congresspeople from Michigan, state legislators, as well as local prosecuting attorneys, sheriffs, clerks, treasurers, registers of deeds and county commissioners.

What else to know before voting in Michigan:

When is the August election?

The 2020 Michigan Primary Election is on Tuesday, August 4.

Are polls still open for in-person voting during the coronavirus pandemic?

Yes, polls will be open for voters on August 4 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. -- as they are for all Michigan elections.

However, all registered Michigan voters now have the option to vote by mail using an absentee ballot.

The state of Michigan mailed absentee voting applications to all registered Michigan voters in May. Those who applied to receive an absentee ballot for the Michigan primary should have already received it in the mail.

If you have received your absentee ballot in the mail, it simply needs to be filled out following the instructions and returned before the deadline.

Absentee ballots can be returned by mail so long as it is received by 8 p.m. on August 4. Postage is required for this option.

Absentee ballots can also be returned by dropping it off at your local clerk’s office or drop box (if available) by 8 p.m. on August 4. No postage is required for this option.

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

What will my ballot look like?

Because the Michigan Primary Election focuses on supporting local representatives, ballots will significantly vary from district to district and county to county.

Every Michigan ballot will, however, share the first line of candidates running for seats in the U.S. Congress (pictured below).

A sample ballot for the Michigan primary election on August 4, 2020. The photo shows the first line on the ballot -- the only section that is reoccurring throughout all Michigan ballots. The remainder of the selections on the ballots are tailored to specific districts and counties. (Michigan Department of State)

The remainder of the ballot will be tailored to specific districts and counties -- but don’t worry, you can easily access and review that information online before heading to the polls.

Can I still register to vote?

Yes, Michigan has same-day voter registration. Just visit your local clerk’s office to register.

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.

When are the next elections after August 4?

November 3, 2020: General election

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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 has proudly been with WDIV/ClickOnDetroit since 2013. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters, and helps lead the WDIV Insider team. He's a big sports fan and is constantly sipping Lions Kool-Aid.