Nov. 6, 2018, is Election Day. Big decisions are being made in Michigan, from who should sit in the governor’s office to how political districts are drawn in our state. Political offices and issues being decided today include:
- A Michigan U.S. Senator
- Michigan’s congressional delegation (14 seats, but you will only vote for the seat in your district)
- The governor’s race
- State attorney general
- Secretary of state
- Supreme court (two seats)
- The entire state Senate (38 seats, but you will only vote for the seat in your district)
- The entire state House (110 seats, but you will only vote for the seat in your district)
- State Board of Education (two seats)
- Boards for Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University (two seats at each university)
- Three ballot issues, including:
- A marijuana legalization proposal
- A proposal to change the way in which Michigan’s political boundaries are redrawn every 10 years
- A proposal to change the ways in which Michigan residents can participate in elections
- There may be additional local races and issues depending on where you live
Voting is a citizen’s right. Michigan does allow most people who have been involved with the justice system to vote. Only those people who are currently incarcerated following a sentence are prevented from casting a ballot. This means that:
- People who are formerly incarcerated CAN vote.
- People who are on probation CAN vote.
- People who are on parole CAN vote.
- People who are in county jails awaiting adjudication CAN vote.
- However, people currently serving a sentence cannot vote until they are released.
Please note that you must be registered to vote at least a month before an election, and unlike some states, Michigan does not allow for same-day registration. However, if you believe you are properly registered and you are denied a ballot when you show up to vote, you have the right to request a provisional ballot. In that case, you will have to return following the election to show your proper credentials in order for your ballot to be counted toward the final vote tally.
Voting locations are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. You must go to your designated voting location. If you are unsure where that is, you can look it up online at www.michigan.gov/vote.
If you encounter trouble casting a vote, contact the ACLU of Michigan voter hotline at 866.687.8683 immediately.
Voting is a critically important part of making a democracy work. Know your rights! Safe & Just Michigan has put together a fact sheet about voting rights for people who have been involved with the justice system. If you find it useful, please share it with others you know.