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New voting equipment to be used across the state

Sept. 20, 2017

LANSING — Michigan residents have until Tuesday, Oct. 10 to register to vote in the Nov. 7 election, in which nearly 700 communities will use the state’s new election equipment, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson recently announced.

“After a successful launch in the August election, we’re excited to see many more communities utilizing the new voting equipment in November,” Johnson said. “I encourage all eligible residents to register and then vote so that their voice can be heard in their community.”

Because the customary 30-day close of registration falls on Sunday Oct. 8 and the following Monday, Oct. 9, is Columbus Day, the close of registration deadline moves forward to Tuesday, Oct. 10.

In November, 75 counties will hold elections, with 48 of those counties utilizing new election equipment. In August’s election, 63 communities in 11 counties implemented the new voting equipment. Johnson reminded voters that while they may notice new ballot counting machines, they still will be marking a paper ballot as they did before. By August 2018, all cities and townships statewide will have the new equipment.

The new systems all use upgraded digital optical-scan technology, which includes notable improvements and increased ease of use for voters and election administrators. Improvements in the election management system software will save county and local clerks time and money in preparing for elections and providing election results. The options available for voters with disabilities also are improved greatly.

To register to vote, applicants must be at least 18 years old by Election Day and U.S. citizens. Applicants also must be residents of Michigan and of the city or township in which they wish to register. Polls will be open on Election Day from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. 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. The mail-in form is available at 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, are 60 years old or older, are disabled or are eligible to vote under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act.

To check their registration status, residents may visit the Michigan Voter Information Center at They can see their sample ballot and find their polling place. Residents also can find information on absentee voting, Michigan’s voter identification requirement and how to contact their local clerk. To update their address, voters can use

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 or will be working as an election inspector in a precinct outside of your precinct of residence.

Voters who wish to receive their absentee ballot by mail must submit their application by 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 4. Absentee ballots can be obtained in person anytime through 4 p.m. Monday, Nov. 6. Voters who request an absentee ballot in person on Monday, Nov. 6, 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.

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