More than half a million Michiganders have already voted in Tuesday’s primary via mail-in ballot, but thousands more are expected to physically go to the polls on August 2.
For people planning to vote in person, those still holding an absentee ballot, or those just planning to watch the results roll in Tuesday night, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has some things to keep in mind before on election day.
Starting with the basics, people should check their voter registration status and polling location on the state’s voter information website: michigan.gov/vote. Contact information for local clerks can also be found there.
“The big things people should know,” Benson told MLive, are that unregistered people can register to vote at their clerk’s office until the polls close at 8 p.m. on Election Day. , and they can also vote there.
“Really, really no one should feel like they can’t run in this election if they’re eligible to do so, even if they’re not registered,” Benson said.
Polling stations open at 7 a.m. and in-person voters can vote if they are in line by 8 p.m. Absentee ballots must also be received by your local clerk or at your local community drop box by 8 p.m.
Benson urged voters earlier this week to hand-deliver mail-in ballots so close to the election because the Postal Service may not send ballots to clerks in time. Track your mail-in ballot on the link here.
7 a.m. is also when election workers begin counting mail-in ballots, because Michigan law does not allow those votes to be tabulated before Election Day. Since that was a big storyline in 2020, that means election results don’t come in as quickly as in other states.
“Because turnout will be a little lower than it was in November 2020,” Benson said, “we expect all votes to be counted on Tuesday or Wednesday.”
Michiganders have only been allowed to vote by mail without an excuse since the 2019 election, so Tuesday’s election saw the highest number of mail-in ballot requests ever for a midterm primary: nearly 1,250,000 a week before polling day.
Benson said it’s possible, as many communities may keep counting into Wednesday and beyond, that final results for the nearest races may not be available for a few days. His office will provide regular public updates on Tuesday so people know when to expect results.
“But the bottom line is that we prioritize accuracy and safety over everything else,” she said. “And so even though it may take a little longer to get those results, voters can know when those unofficial results come out that they’re accurate and reliable.”
Benson estimates that one-third to one-half of voters will physically vote at the polls on Tuesday, and she said her office is poised for a turnout that hovers around 2 million voters, given that the 2020 primary saw about 2 .5 million voters.
The highest-profile race on the ballot is the five-candidate Republican gubernatorial primary. The last two gubernatorial primaries of the year, according to SoS Dataregistered an attendance of 28.2% in 2018 (2.2 million people) and 17.4% in 2014 (1.3 million people).
Speaking of political parties, Michigan allows you to vote in contests for either party, but you can only choose one. The ballot will have Democratic contests on one side and Republican contests on the other, and you can’t double down.
Voting in the Republican gubernatorial primary and then the Democratic race for your local congressional district, for example, will cause your ballot to be thrown out.
Tuesday is also the first election of a big year since allegations of widespread fraud began to swirl in Michigan and other battleground states after November 2020.
These allegations of large-scale cheating have never been substantiated, and Benson said citizens should “embrace the many ways they can find out the truth about our elections.”
This includes state clerks who conduct public testing of voting machines in the days leading up to an election to show people they will accurately count votes.
“We will continue to speak the truth and be guided by data and deliver safe and effective elections,” Benson said, “so that every eligible voter, wherever they live, whether Republican, Democrat or independents, no matter who they plan to vote for, can have confidence in the election results and that those results will stand.
Learn more about MLive:
Michigan Voters Guide 2022 by MLive, League of Women Voters
Governor’s race, congressional clashes: MLive’s political team previews August 2 ballot
Michigan GOP gubernatorial candidates make closing arguments and attacks in final debate