Making Democracy Work

Election Day Information

Do's & Don'ts and what to expect on Election Day

Election Day Do's and Don'ts

  • Photographing ballots: Photos of ballots should not be taken. The use of video cameras and still cameras are prohibited in the polls. This includes recording features built into many cell phones. The ban applies to all voters, challengers, poll watchers and election workers.

  • Showing your ballot to someone else: Under Michigan election law, a ballot is rejected if deliberately exposed to another person. A voter who deliberately exposes their ballot will not be allowed to vote in that election.

  • Displaying election-related materials at the polls: If you go to the polls with a T-shirt or button bearing campaign-related images or slogans, you will be asked to cover or remove it. Displaying clothing, buttons and material such as pamphlets, fliers and stickers is prohibited. You may not display such items in the polling place or within 100 feet of an entrance to a polling place.

  • What should you take with you to vote? You will be asked to present an acceptable photo ID in every election. The following types of ID are acceptable:
Michigan driver's license or state-issued ID card
Driver's license or personal ID card issued by another state
Federal or state government-issued photo ID
U.S. passport
Military ID with photo
Student ID with photo from a high school or accredited institution of higher learning
Tribal ID card with photo
If you do not have photo ID or did not bring it with you to the polls, you may still vote. Simply sign an affidavit (a written declaration under oath) stating your name, address, and that you are not in possession of photo identification. Your ballot is included with all others and is counted. Go to the Michigan Voter Information Center for a guide to voter identification at the polls, getting a state id, what photo ids you can use and what to do if you don't have a photo id at the polls.

  • Voting a straight party ticket: At the top of the ballot, there is an opportunity to vote "straight" party, which voters may use to select all candidates on one political party's ticket with a single vote. If you vote straight party, there is no need to vote again for any individual candidate in the party column.

  • Split-ticket voting: You may "split" your ticket, which means you may vote for candidates of different parties in the Nov. 8 general election. In the August primary, you must vote for a single party.

  • Voting the entire ballot: You are not required to vote the entire ballot. You may pick and choose the races or ballot questions for which you want to vote. Skipping sections of the ballot does not invalidate your ballot.

  • Voting equipment: Michigan uses an optical scan voting system statewide using a paper ballot and three different vote tabulating machine brands from two companies, Dominion Election Systems' Optech Insight; and Election Systems & Software, which sells the AccuVote and M100 models. The voting machines that tally the paper ballots were purchased more than a decade ago. No voting machines used in Michigan were made or sold by Smartmatic. The tabulators are not connected to the Internet.

  • Poll challengers and watchers: Voters may see poll challengers, who typically stand near the election workers, and poll watchers, who remain in the public area of the polling place on Election Day. State law allows both types of observers to monitor polling places. Challengers and watchers should not speak to voters. People concerned about the behavior of anyone in a polling place should speak with the precinct chairperson or the local clerk's office. Precinct workers are trained and have the authority to remove disruptive individuals.

Election Day Problems



1-866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683)

1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (en Espaņol)

1-888-API-VOTE (Asian multilingual assistance)

1-844-418-1682 (Arabic)