Polls open in the midterm elections: What you need to know

Polls open in the midterm elections: What you need to know
Polls open in the midterm elections: What you need to know
Polls open in the midterm elections: What you need to know
Polls open in the midterm elections: What you need to know

Polls open in the midterm elections: What you need to know.

It’s Election Day, with polls open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Record turnout for a midterm election is predicted, which could mean long lines.

Election officials say waits likely will be longest first thing this morning, during the lunch hour and early evening. The lines will be shortest mid-morning and mid-afternoon.

People standing in line at 8 p.m. will be allowed to vote.

Michigan voters are picking a new governor, secretary of state and attorney general; vote on members of Congress and the state Legislature and determine the fate of three statewide ballot initiatives, including a proposal to legalize recreational marijuana.

There are also other candidates and issues on the ballot, including county, school and library board races.

Make sure to return to MLive.com tonight for election results.

Here is what voters should know about voting today.

Double-check the location of your polling place.

A number of communities have changed the locations of their polling places, so double-check where you need to go.

Infrequent or new voters: Be aware every voter is assigned a polling place — you can’t just go to any polling place in your city or township.

Polling places can be verified at www.michigan.gov/vote — just type in your name, birth date and ZIP code.

You can also do a Google search on the phrase “where do I vote.” A database will pop up where you can type in your address and your polling place will pop up.

Deadlines for absentee voters

Absentee voters have until 8 p.m. today to return their ballot to their city or township clerk’s office. (Postmarks don’t count; ballots received after the deadline are thrown out.)

If you lost your absentee ballot, you can go to your polling place and vote after election workers verify that your ballot hasn’t been returned.

You can see a copy of your ballot online to plan out your decision-making.

You can see your ballot online at www.michigan.gov/vote — just type in your name, birth date and ZIP code.

There’s also an online database at vote411.org, the website operated by the League of Women Voters.

Straight-ticket voting is not an option in this election.

For the first time in more than a century, voters can’t fill in a single bubble to vote for all the members of one party.

That option was eliminated by a new law that is going into effect for the first time with this election.

Fill out both sides of the ballot and mark it correctly.

It’s a two-sided ballot. Make sure to flip it over.

Bring a photo identification to your polling place.

You don’t need your voter’s registration card, but you should bring a photo ID.

Acceptable IDs include driver’s license; state-issued ID card; ID issued by another state; federal or state-issued photo ID; U.S. passport; military ID; student ID or tribal ID card with photo.

Voters who do not have an acceptable form of ID or failed to bring it with them to the polls still can vote. They simply sign a brief affidavit stating that they’re not in possession of a photo ID. Their ballots are included with all others and counted on Election Day.

No selfies are allowed in the voting booth.

Michigan law bans photographs of voter ballots. The penalty for taking a ballot selfie is your vote is not counted.

Incidentally, the ban extends to use of video cameras, still cameras and other recording devices in polling places when they are open for voting. This includes still cameras and other recording features built into many cell phones. The ban applies to all voters, challengers, poll watchers and election workers.

Exceptions are made for credentialed members of the news media, though certain restrictions remain.

Leave your candidate T-shirts or buttons at home.

Michigan bans election-related materials at polling places. This includes clothing and buttons as well as materials such as pamphlets, fliers and stickers. You cannot display such items in the polling place or within 100 feet of an entrance to a polling place. If you go to the polls with a shirt or button bearing election-related images or slogans, you will be asked to cover or remove it.

What to do if you experience or see problems.

Voting is a public process and anybody is allowed to observe. However, poll watchers cannot interact with voters. Anybody who sees a problem at a polling place on Tuesday should alert the poll workers. If that doesn’t work, call the city or township clerk.

Citizens seeking to report voter fraud can contact their county clerk, the Michigan Secretary of State office at 517-373-2540 or local law enforcement.


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