Michigan's military service members and their families largely vote absentee. Photo via Shutterstock
Michigan's military service members and their families largely vote absentee.

Michigan’s military service members and their families do the hard work of protecting our freedoms. This voter guide will help protect their votes.

MICHIGAN — Whether stationed out-of-state or overseas, Michigan’s military members and their families traditionally rely on the US Postal Service (USPS) to safely and securely transport absentee ballots to them.

Civilian voters living overseas temporarily also rely on USPS for their voting needs.

As many Michiganders choose socially distant options to cast their ballots amid the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s election is expected to break records for mail-in voting. Guidelines for members of the military and their families are different than those for civilian Michigan voters.

Whether you’re a member of the armed services living outside the state or a civilian living overseas, Michigan provides special services to assist your participation in elections. 

Here’s what you need to know:

Hispanic soldier waiting to vote in polling place
Getty Images

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1. Ensure You’re Registered to Vote 

Download and complete a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) from the Federal Voting Assistance Program

The FPCA can also assist voters with obtaining an absent voter ballot by email or regular USPS mail.

2. Request an Absent Voter Ballot

Absent voter ballots (AKA absentee ballots) can be requested each year by email or regular USPS mail. Go to the Federal Voting Assistance Program to download a FPCA. 

Applications can be completed and submitted by USPS mail, fax, or scanned and emailed to your local clerk based on your home residence. 

Be sure to check the appropriate box for email, fax or mail. Please note that this is the same link you will use to register to vote if you are not already registered.

3. Check the Status of Your Request

The Michigan Voter Information Center allows you to track the status of your absent voter ballot from the time you request it until the time the completed ballot is received by your local clerk’s office. 

This link includes important information like the name and address of your local clerk’s office, dates to remember, and other frequently asked questions.

4. Know the Candidates and Proposals

The Michigan Voter Information Center will ask you for your name and address to confirm what will be on the ballot. Voters can view what will be printed on the ballot and can use it to research the issues before voting.

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Important note: Only voters covered under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) are eligible to use the Federal Post Card Application Form (FPCA) and receive an absentee ballot by email or fax. 

Included voters are:

  • Members of a uniformed service on active duty who are absent from his or her Michigan city or township of residence (whether located inside or outside the US).
  • Member of the Merchant Marine who, by reason of service in the Merchant Marine, are absent from his or her Michigan city or township of residence (whether located inside or outside the US).
  • A spouse or dependent of a member of a uniformed service or a member of the Merchant Marine who, by reason of the active duty or service of the member, is absent from his or her city or township of residence (whether located inside or outside the US).
  • A civilian voter who is outside the United States and is eligible to vote in Michigan.
  • A member of the National Guard activated on state orders. 

Answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ) for civilian voters can be found here. FAQ for military services members are here.

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