We are less than three weeks away from an historic election — are you ready to vote? Perhaps you have already? Maybe you’re wondering if it’s too late to register? Or maybe you don’t even think you can vote because of a criminal record?

We don’t know how any of the many contests currently underway will turn out, but Safe & Just Michigan can share some good news with you: In Michigan, having a criminal record is NOT a barrier to voting, unless you are currently incarcerated and serving a sentence.

That means that you can vote if:

  • You have multiple misdemeanors or felonies on your record
  • You were released from prison or jail the morning of the election
  • You are on probation or parole on Election Day
  • You are incarcerated in jail and awaiting adjudication on Election Day
  • You still owe restitution, court fees or fines

The only reason a criminal record gets in the way of casting a ballot is if you are incarcerated and serving a sentence on Election Day.

However — in order to vote, you must be registered. It’s important to understand some upcoming voter registration deadlines that are coming up, and to know that even if you’re not registered on Election Day, you can STILL register and vote. Here’s how:

  • If you want to vote in person at your regular polling location, you MUST register to vote by Oct. 19.
  • If you want to vote by absentee ballot (“vote by mail”), you must request a ballot. You can do this online, at a Secretary of State office or at a city or township clerk’s office before Oct. 19. After Oct. 19, you can only do this at your local clerk’s office.
  • Election Day and you’re still not registered? Don’t give up! You can go to you city or township clerk’s office, register there and vote in person in that office. DO NOT go to your local polling location, as you won’t be able to register to vote there.

We’ve created this infographic to explain it all. Please share it with your friends and family!