CADILLAC — Guess who’s back again? Voting’s back, tell a friend and be sure to hit the polls this upcoming Nov. 6 to exercise that civic duty.
Before heading to the polls, there’s a lot to learn and get to know about the upcoming midterm.
For example, the deadline for voter registration by person or by mail is Tuesday, Oct. 9, 30 days before the election, according to the Michigan Secretary of State Office.
That means if you want to vote on Nov. 6, you need to be registered by Oct. 9.
This election, people will be able to vote on a ballot initiative that could legalize recreational marijuana and they will be choosing the next Michigan governor.
There is some confusion around what you can and can’t do during elections, so the Cadillac News has pulled some frequently asked questions from the Secretary of State Office’s website to help clear things up:
Q: Can I vote for more than one party or "split" my ticket on Nov. 6?
Short Answer: Yes
Long Answer: When voting in a November general election you can “split‘ your ticket. That means you can vote for individual candidates under any party you want.
However, you have to be careful for August primaries, which are a different story. In August you cannot “split‘ your ticket, but instead must keep your votes in a single party column. If you fail to do this, then your ballot is rejected.
Q: Do I have to vote on the entire ballot?
Short Answer: No
Long Answer: You don’t have to vote on the entire ballot. You can choose which races or ballot questions you want to vote on. Skipping a section does not make your ballot invalid.
Q: Do I need to show identification in order to vote?
Short Answer: Yes (Sort of)
Long Answer: Michigan does have a voter identification requirement at the polls. Voters are asked to present an acceptable photo ID such as a Michigan driver's license or identification card. The ID does not need to have your address on it.
However, if you do not have an acceptable form of ID or forgot to bring one with you to the polls, you can still vote. You just have to sign a brief affidavit stating you don’t currently possess your photo ID. Then your ballot is still included with all the others and counted on Election Day, according to the Secretary of State Office.
Q: Can I wear election-related clothing to the polls?
Short Answer: No
Long Answer: Michigan has prohibited displaying election-related materials at the polls for decades. This includes clothing, buttons, pamphlets, fliers and stickers. You can’t even display these items 100 feet from an entrance to a polling place.
If you go to the polls with a shirt or button that has election-related images or slogans on it, you will be asked to cover or remove it. Haring Township Clerk Kirk Soule said he measures 100 feet from the entrances of the township’s polls to make sure no one is violation of this policy. He also keeps a jacket or sweatshirt for people to wear while voting if they come wearing election-related clothing.
Q: Can I use a camera in the polls?
Short Answer: No
Long Answer: The use of cameras and other recording devices are banned in the polls when open for voting. This includes your phone’s camera and recording devices. The ban applies to all voters, challengers, poll watchers and election workers. Only the news media get an exception, though certain restrictions remain, according to the Secretary of State Office.
Q: Can Michigan residents in jail or prison vote?
Short Answer: It Depends
Long Answer: If someone is in jail or prison and waiting for their arraignment or trial, they are eligible to vote.
But, if they have been convicted and are serving a sentence, they cannot vote during their confinement. Once released, they are free to participate in elections without restriction, according to the Secretary of State Office.