Michigan's first-time voters could change the tide of the election. These answers to frequently asked questions can help new voters cast their ballots confidently. Photo via Shutterstock
Michigan's first-time voters could change the tide of the election. These answers to frequently asked questions can help new voters cast their ballots confidently.

There’s still time to vote in the election. These answers to frequently asked questions will help you vote with confidence.

MICHIGAN—Voters have exactly one week to create and execute their 2020 voting plans. Between pandemic safety, avoiding crowds, and maintaining mental health in today’s heightened climate, the idea of voting can feel overwhelming.

There is still time to vote and still several options for casting your ballot.

Michigan voters still have time to vote early in person, to vote in person on Election Day, or to drop their absentee ballots in one of Michigan’s more than 700 drop boxes. With so many choices, making a plan to vote can be the best way to make sure you’re not discounted this election.

These answers to frequently asked questions can help you make your vote count.

RELATED: The ‘Gander’s Guide to Voting in Michigan in 2020

1. I’m Not Registered—Can I Still Vote?/Voter Registration Status

It’s a good idea to know if you’re registered to vote and where. Have you moved since you first registered? Maybe you registered in college and never actually voted. Checking your registration helps you know your registration status and the jurisdiction in which you are registered to vote. 

If you are not registered or need to update your existing voter registration, you can register to vote at your local clerk’s office now through Nov. 2.

Election Day voters may register at their assigned polling place (based on your home address) when they cast their first ballot.

Click here to check the status of your Michigan voter registration.

2. I’m Not Registered/I’ve Never Voted in Michigan. Do I Have to Wait For Election Day to Vote?

No way, ‘Gander! 

You can register to vote and cast your ballot any week day at your local clerk’s office. You may also register to vote on Election Day at your assigned polling location.

3. What Should I Expect at a Michigan Clerk’s Office/Polling Place?

Each Michigan polling location and clerk’s office may have their own standards, but you can expect election officials to wear masks and to provide clean voting stations.

Many Michigan voting locations are providing hand sanitizer and requiring temperature checks before allowing voters to enter. Smaller offices are asking voters to stand in socially distanced lines outside the polling station to wait their turn to vote. This reduces the number of people indoors at once, and helps to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

4. Do I Have to Wear a Mask to Vote in Michigan?

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson is not requiring Michigan voters to wear masks. Election officials wear masks to protect themselves and others against the spread of the coronavirus, but Michiganders are asked to make the most responsible choices for themselves when heading to the polls.

If you’re able, you are encouraged to wear a mask when voting.

READ MORE: Stay Safe at the Polls With These Locally Produced Masks

5. Where Can I Drop Off an Absentee Ballot?

Michigan has over 700 ballot drop off locations. You must use a drop box located in your voting jurisdiction. Click here to find the box near you.

6. What’s the Difference Between Early Voting, Election Day Voting, and Drop Boxes?

The biggest difference between these options are determined by personal preference. Each method allows Michigan voters to safely and securely cast a ballot, but one method may be more convenient than another for some voters.

Early voting is a general term that refers to casting a ballot before Election Day. Ballots can be cast early in Michigan by mail, in person at a local clerk’s office, or by dropping off a completed ballot at a drop box. 

Please note that absentee ballots that are placed in the mail will likely not be counted in this year’s election as all ballots must be received by 8:00 p.m. on Nov. 3.

Election Day voting happens in person on the first Tuesday of November. Ballots must be cast at your assigned polling place. Polls close at 8:00 p.m., but if you are in line you will still be allowed to vote.

Absentee ballots can be returned at one of the more than 700 drop boxes across the state. You must use a box in your assigned polling jurisdiction.

DON’T MISS: Here’s How to Turn in Your Ballot at One of Michigan’s 700+ Drop-Off Locations

7. Are There Provisions for Disabled Voters?

All eligible Michigan residents may vote in the election. Click here for more information for disabled voters.

8. Do I Need to Bring Anything With Me to Vote?

If you are registering at the same time you vote, you must bring proof of residency and identification.

If you are already registered when you cast your ballot, you are not required to present ID or any other documentation, however, it’s always a good idea to keep identification on you at all times.

9. Is it Too Late to Mail My Absentee Ballot?

Yes, according to our top election official Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. 

Absentee ballots must be returned in person to ensure they will be counted. Voters may return completed ballots to their local clerk’s office, at a drop box, or to their assigned polling location on Election Day.

10. Can I Get Time Off Work to Vote?

Many employers offer flexible work schedules for Election Day. Ask your boss if you can have time off to vote and plan accordingly.

11. Will I Be Rushed to Complete My Ballot Because of the Pandemic?

No. In fact, Michigan voters have reported having more time to research ballot issues (and from the comfort of their living rooms). Michiganders are using early and absentee voting options to do the most research. 

Click here to see what’s on your ballot. Click here for ballot research resources.

12. Should I Make a Plan to Vote?

Yes! Click here for more information about making a voter plan.

13. I Voted! What Next?

Michigan voters can track their ballots online to be sure they were received. Click here to track your ballot and stay turned to The ‘Gander for election results as they become available.

SEE ALSO: Benson: Michigan Shouldn’t Expect Results on Election Night