Get ready to vote in the Aug. 8 Election

There's no Presidential Election this year, but many important local elections and election primaries will take place on Aug. 8.

On Aug. 8, Michigan voters will head to the polls to vote in primary elections to select candidates for the November General Election. While no federal or statewide offices are on the ballot this August, many cities have important elections this fall and the August primary will determine who is on the ballot in November. In some areas, voters will also be asked to consider local ballot questions such as bond or millage proposals. Unfortunately, August elections typically have very low turnout, despite very important local decisions being made.

For those planning on voting in the Aug. 8 election, or for those who didn’t know there was an election in August, here’s what you need to know before you head to the polls:

Am I eligible to vote? Michigan residents who are U.S. citizens, 18 years old, and registered to vote in the city or township they live in are eligible to vote. Voters can verify their registration status using the Secretary of State’s Voter Information Center website.  The deadline to register to vote in the August election was July 10, 2017. Those wishing to register to vote can follow this guide on the Secretary of State website, or check with your county clerk’s office.

When do I vote? The August Primary Election is on Aug. 8, 2016. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. If a voter is in line when polls close, they should remain in line as they will still be allowed to vote.

Where do I vote? Voters can find their polling location and see a preview of their ballot on the Secretary of State’s Voter Information Center website.

What am I voting on? The August Primary Election is used primarily to select candidates to appear in the General Election in November. Candidates for local government offices such as mayor or city council will appear on the ballot. Some areas will also have local questions on their ballots. Again, voters can visit the Voter Information Center to preview their ballot before Election Day.

How do I vote? Registered voters can vote by going to their polling location (available on the Voter Information Center website) on Election Day, or by requesting an Absentee Voter ballot from their City or Township Clerk. Simply fill out this Absent Voter Ballot Application and submit it to your local clerk. Absentee voter applications must be received by the local clerk by 2 p.m. on the Saturday before the election. Absentee ballots must be completed and returned to the clerk’s office by 8 p.m. on Election Day. These ballots can be sent in my mail, or dropped off in person, as long as they are received by 8 p.m. on Election Day.

The Secretary of State’s office asks that voters bring an acceptable form of photo identification to the polls on Election Day. However, a voter who does not have photo ID can still vote. A voter who lacks voter ID will be asked to sign an affidavit at their polling location. Once the affidavit is signed, voters will cast their ballot and it will be counted with all other ballots.

For more information on elections, visit the Michigan Secretary of State’s Elections in Michigan page.

Those in Michigan State University Extension that focus on Government and Public Policy provide various training programs, which are available to be presented in your county.  Contact your local Government and Public Policy educator for more information. 

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