Voting in East Lansing Has Gotten Easier

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Tuesday, October 29, 2019, 8:15 am
Ken Sperber

There have been several changes statewide and locally that should make voting easier this year. Most significantly, as we explain below, any registered voter can now vote early in the election, and voters can register as late as on Election Day.

On Election Day, polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and East Lansing City Clerk Jennifer Shuster said “we do not anticipate long lines” this year. Each East Lansing precinct will have at least 10 voting booths and two electronic pollbooks (for registration verification) to help speed up the voting process.

Proposal 3 changes

Proposal 3 was approved by Michigan voters in November 2018. Proposal 3 amended the Michigan Constitution and, taken with enacted legislation, it has caused several changes in the voting process statewide:

  • The 30-day voter registration deadline has been eliminated.
  • You no longer need a reason to vote absentee.
  • Straight party ticket voting is allowed.
  • Automatic voter registration is happening via the Secretary of State offices.

Not sure if you are registered to vote?

The Michigan Voter Information Center has a website to check if you are already registered to vote. Go to: After you plug in some personal identification information, the website will tell you if you are already registered and where your polling place is located. It will also give you contact information for your local city or township clerk and a sample of your local ballot.

All U.S. citizens ages 18 and older are eligible to vote. (You have to be 18 years old by Election Day.) To vote in Michigan, you also have to have been a resident of Michigan and the city/township where you are registering for at least 30 days before Election Day.

You can register right up until right before you vote.

Since Proposal 3 passed, there is no registration deadline. Although Michigan now allows Election Day same-day registration, voters are encouraged to get registered ahead of time.

From now through November 5 (Election Day), registering to vote in East Lansing can only be done in person at the City Clerk's office on the first floor of City Hall at 410 Abbot Road.

You must bring proof of residency. That can be a State of Michigan driver's license or ID, a utility bill, a paycheck stub, a bank statement, or other government documents. Proof of residency may be on paper or electronic.

Election Day registrants may obtain and then vote an absentee voter ballot in person in the Clerk's office up to 8 p.m. on November 5 (Election Day), or register at the Clerk’s office and then vote in person in the proper precinct with a voter registration receipt from the Clerk's office.

Act now and you can vote absentee, even if you’re going to be in town.

With the passage of Proposal 3, all Michigan voters can cast absentee ballots beginning 45 days prior to Election Day. This is sometimes called “early voting” because you don’t need a reason to vote absentee.

Up to 5 p.m. on November 1, voters may obtain an absent voter ballot via First Class Mail. Up to 4 p.m. on November 4, voters may obtain an absent voter ballot in person at the Clerk’s Office. Those voters registering on Election Day may obtain and vote an absent voter ballot, in person, at the Clerk’s Office or vote in person in the proper precinct. After receiving an absentee ballot, voters have until 8 p.m. on Election Day to complete and return the ballot to the Clerk’s office. You can mail in your absentee ballots, drop them off at the Clerk’s Office or put it in the ballot drop box at East Lansing City Hall. Absentee ballots are counted and tabulated on Election Day.

Going to the polls? Be prepared.

Voters going to the polls are encouraged to bring photo identification (preferably a Michigan driver license) with them. Acceptable forms of identification include a driver license, current U.S. passport, and student or military IDs. While photo IDs are not required to vote in Michigan, it helps speed up the voting process.

If you are already registered to vote and you forget to bring a photo ID to the polling precinct, you can still vote by signing an affidavit on-site confirming your identity.

Voters cannot wear, distribute, or display any political imagery at polling places. Michigan prohibits the display of election-related materials within 100 feet of a polling place. This also includes signs and leaflets.

In general, cameras are not allowed at polling locations. However, voters are now allowed to take a photo of their own ballot or a “selfie” in a voting booth. Selfies that show other people voting are not allowed. (Broadcast stations and news media representatives may be permitted to briefly film from the public area of the polling room.)

See ELi’s voter guide on the City Council election

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