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Voter registration deadline nears for Nov. 5 election

Elections will be held in 75 of Michigan’s 83 counties

Michigan residents have until Monday, Oct. 7, to register in order to vote in the Nov. 5 election, said Secretary of State Ruth Johnson.

“I would encourage all qualified residents to register to vote,” said Johnson, Michigan’s chief election officer. “Registration takes only a few minutes and will enable voters to be a part of democracy and have their say on Election Day.”

Elections are being held in 75 of Michigan’s 83 counties on Nov. 5. The polls will be open on Election Day from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. To find out if there is an election in your community, confirm if you are registered or to see a sample ballot, visit www.michigan.gov/vote.

In our area, only the City of Cedar Springs has candidates up for election. Other cities with elections in Kent County include East Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids, Grandville, Lowell, Walker and Wyoming.

To register to vote, applicants must be at least 18 years old by Election Day and be U.S. citizens. Those individuals must also be residents of Michigan and of the city or township in which they wish to register to vote.

Voters may register by mail or in person at their county, city or township clerk’s office or by visiting any Secretary of State office. When registering in person, voters must present identification or sign an affidavit stating they do not have identification with them. The mail-in form is available at www.michigan.gov/elections. First-time voters who register by mail must vote in person in their first election, unless they hand-deliver the application to their local clerk or are at least 60 years old, disabled or are eligible to vote under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act.

The Michigan Voter Information Center at www.michigan.gov/vote is a great online resource for Michigan voters. On the website, residents can find information on absentee voting, Michigan’s voter identification requirement, information on how to use voting equipment and contact information for their local clerk. In addition, they will find a map to their local polling place and a sample ballot. A smartphone version of the website is also available.

Voters who qualify may choose to cast an absentee ballot. As a registered voter, you may obtain an absentee ballot if you are:

age 60 or older.

physically unable to attend the polls without the assistance of another.

expecting to be absent from the community in which you are registered for the entire time the polls will be open on Election Day.

in jail awaiting arraignment or trial.

unable to attend the polls due to religious reasons.

appointed to work as an election inspector in a precinct outside of your precinct of residence.

Those who wish to receive their absentee ballot by mail must submit their application by 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2. Absentee ballots can be obtained in person anytime through 4 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 4. Voters who request an absentee ballot in person on Monday, Nov. 4, must fill out the ballot in the clerk’s office. Emergency absentee ballots are available under certain conditions through 4 p.m. on Election Day.

Voters may notice a slight change to the wording of the affirmation statement that appears above the signature line on applications to vote in the polls and on absent voter ballot applications. By signing the application, the voter attests that he or she is a U.S. citizen. The revised application forms also remind voters that they must be citizens in order to vote.

Michigan law requires voters to provide identification when at the polls on Election Day or when obtaining an absentee ballot in person at a clerk’s office. They will be asked to present valid photo ID, such as a Michigan driver’s license or identification card. Anyone who does not have an acceptable form of photo ID or failed to bring it with them can still vote. They will be required to sign a brief affidavit stating that they’re not in possession of photo ID. Their ballot will be included with all others and counted on Election Day.

Voters who don’t have a Michigan driver’s license or identification card can show the following forms of photo ID, as long as the identification is current:

Driver’s license or personal identification card issued by another state.

Federal or state government-issued photo identification.

U.S. passport.

Military identification card with photo.

Student identification with photo from a high school or an accredited institution of higher education, such as a college or university.

Tribal identification card with photo.

Additional election information can be found at www.michigan.gov/elections.


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