Michigan Student Voting Guide

Registration Deadline

Voter Registration Deadline: Received or postmarked by the 30th day before Election Day

 Voter registration forms, polling place locations, and more information can be found at www.michigan.gov/vote/

 What Type of ID Do I Need to Register?

  • No ID is required
  • If you have a Michigan driver’s license or state ID, put down the license or ID number on the registration form.
  • If you do not have a Michigan driver’s license or state ID, put down the last 4 digits of your Social Security Number.

Register at School or Home?

Students have a choice about where to register to vote.

School address:

  • Students attending college in Michigan may register at their school address. You must plan to return after temporary absences, like summer break, but do not have to plan to reside at that address permanently.

Permanent address:

  • Students may choose to register or remain registered at a permanent address in Michigan or outside the state. In this case, students may need to vote by absentee ballot.

You may only be registered and vote in one location.

What Type of ID Do I Need to Vote?

Election workers will ask you for a photo ID, but if you do not have one, you will sign an affidavit that you do not have ID or don’t have it on you and vote a ballot that will be counted on Election Day. Bring your photo ID if you have it because it will make the process faster. Acceptable IDs include:
  • a driver’s license or identification card issued by Michigan or another state,
  • a U.S. passport,
  • a photo ID issued by a federal or state government,
  • a military ID with photo,
  • a high school or college photo ID, or
  • a tribal ID with photo.

Where Do I Vote?

  • Voters must cast their ballots in the correct precinct. Sometimes there are multiple precincts in one polling place, so confirm your precinct ahead of time and get in the correct line!

How Can I Vote?

Absentee Voting by Mail or In Person

  • If you registered to vote in Michigan by mail or third-party registration drive and have not previously voted in the state, you will be required to vote in person on Election Day (or cast an absentee ballot in person at a municipal clerk’s office – see below). If you registered in person (at a municipal clerk’s office or Secretary of State’s office), you can vote absentee. Michigan only allows exceptions for this rule for active duty military, voters over age 60, or voters suffering from a disability. First-time voters only complete an “in-person” registration (such that they can vote absentee if they choose) if they register with the municipal clerk’s office for the address they list on the registration form or if they register at the Secretary of State’s office.
  • Michigan residents may apply for an absentee ballot if they have a valid reason. Valid reasons include expecting to be out of town on Election Day, being at least 60 years old, unable to vote without assistance at the polls, in jail awaiting arraignment or trial, religious reasons, or appointment as an election inspector in a precinct outside of your own.
  • Requests for absentee ballots must be received in writing by your local election official by 2 p.m. the Saturday before Election Day.
  • Completed ballots must be returned to the municipal clerk’s office before 8 p.m. on Election Day.
  • A voter may request and cast an absentee ballot at a municipal clerk’s office up until the day before Election Day.
  • Since it occurs in person, first-time voters may take advantage of this, even if they did not register in person.

On Election Day at the PollsThe polls are open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m.

Will voting in Michigan affect my federal financial aid?

Where you register to vote will not affect federal financial aid such as Pell Grants and Perkins or Stafford loans or your dependency status regarding FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). 

Does being an out-of-state student for tuition purposes affect my right to vote in my college community?

No. You may choose to vote in your college community or back home regardless of your tuition status.

Will I lose my scholarship if I register to vote in Michigan?

Generally, no. If you receive scholarship money from a state, county, town, or a private entity (i.e., an entity other than the federal government) you should confirm that residency in a particular place is not a requirement of the scholarship and/or that voter registration in Michigan will not affect your eligibility. 

Will registering to vote in Michigan affect my driver’s license or car registration?

For out-of-state students, registering to vote does not obligate you to obtain a Michigan driver’s license or car registration, but you may be required to obtain a Michigan driver’s license or car registration regardless of voter registration status. For in-state students, the addresses listed on a Michigan driver’s license and a voter registration record must match, and changing the address for one triggers an update to the other. When the registration form contains an address change, you will get a address update sticker in the mail. Students may always change their Michigan driver’s license or ID and voter registration addresses at ExpressSOS on the Secretary of State’s website. 

Will registering to vote in Michigan prevent my parents from claiming me as a dependent on their taxes?

No. Students are often told that registering to vote in a different state from their parents will make them lose their dependency status. This is not true. Where you register to vote will have no effect on your parent’s tax status. 
This Guide was prepared by FELN staff who are not licensed to practice law in Michigan and FELN intends that the information contained herein is used only as a general guide. This document should not be used as a substitute for consultation with a licensed Michigan legal professional.

Last updated June 2016