Kent County Voters Guide
Check out our printable brochure for helpful information about voting in Kent County.
You are qualified to vote if:
- You are a Citizen of the U.S.
- You are at least 18 years of age on or before the next scheduled election.
- You have been a resident of Michigan for at least 30 days before the election.
- You registered 15 days prior to the election or registered in-person with your local city or township clerk in the final 14 days prior to the election or on Election Day.
Individuals who register to vote within the 14-day period immediately preceding an election must appear in person at their city or township clerk’s office and provide proof of residency. Individuals using any other method must register to vote at least 15 days before Election Day. You do not have to re-register for each election unless you have moved and/or changed your name.
You can register at any of the following offices:
- Secretary of State Branch Office
- County Clerk's Office
- City, Township, or Village Office
- Mail-In Voter Registration Application
As soon as your local City or Township Clerk accepts the registration, you are officially registered to vote.
- The polling place is where you go to cast your ballot.
- Polling Locations are also referred to as "precincts".
- The precinct you are assigned to depends on where you are registered to vote.
- When you arrive at your polling place, a precinct inspector will ask you
to fill out an Application to Vote to verify your name and address which
appears on the list of registered voters assigned to that precinct. If you
are in the incorrect precinct, you must go to the correct precinct in order
- You will be requested to show current photo ID. Qualified, registered electors who are not in possession of ID may sign an affidavit on the back of the application to be issued a ballot.
Three Ways to Vote
Absentee ballot applications are available 75 days prior and ballots can be obtained 45 days prior to an election. Contact your local clerk's office to request an application. If you are on the permanent absentee ballot voter list, you will automatically receive an absentee ballot in the mail ahead of each election. You may return your absentee ballot by placing it in one of your township or city drop boxes, mailing it (postage paid for), or dropping it off in- person at your local clerk's office. Voters must sign the back of their absentee ballot envelope as it appears on their driver's license or photo ID. If your signature cannot be verified or is missing, your local clerk will contact you and you have up to 3-days after Election Day to fix this signature. Applications to apply must be turned into your local clerk's office by 4pm the day before an election and ballots are due by 8pm on Election Day. To receive your ballot in the mail, you must return a completed application to your local clerk's office by 5pm the Friday before Election Day. You may also pick up the ballot in-person during weekend hours or request and vote in your local clerk's office until 4pm the Monday before the election.
*Only for State and Federal elections or if your township or city choses to offer it for a local election.
There are 9-days of early voting ahead of the Presidential Primary, State Primary, and November General elections. This starts the second Saturday before and ends the first Sunday before Election Day. Early voting procedures are just like Election Day - show up, complete a voter application, mark your ballot, and place it into the tabulator. Contact your local clerk's office for location and schedule prior to each election.
There are at least three elections in 2024: The Presidential Primary (February 27), the State Primary (August 6), and the General Election (November 5). Your jurisdiction may have an election in May if there are any school or local proposals. Polls are open 7am-8pm. When you arrive at your polling place, an election inspector will ask you to fill out an Application to Vote to verify your name and address which appears on the list of registered voters assigned to that precinct. If you are in the incorrect precinct, you must go to the correct precinct to vote. You can verify your polling location and view a sample ballot by going to mvic.sos.state.mi.us
You can obtain an absentee Ballot from the City or Township Office where you are registered to vote. The deadline to apply to receive an absent voter ballot by mail is 5:00 p.m. on the Friday prior to the election. Voters may also pick up an absentee ballot in person during their local clerk's special weekend hours during the weekend before election day. On the Monday before election day until 4:00 p.m., voters may request a ballot in person at their local clerk's office but the ballot must be voted and returned before leaving the clerk's office.
You may apply for an Absent Voter Ballot by:
- post card
- absentee ballot application
- in person at your local clerk's office
- if you are eligible, with a Federal Postcard Application
NOTE: NO ABSENT VOTER BALLOTS WILL BE SUPPLIED THROUGH A TELEPHONE REQUEST. THEY MUST BE REQUESTED IN WRITING!
Federal Post Card Application F.P.C.A.
The postcard application may be used to both register to vote and to apply for an absent voter ballot. The use of this application is restricted to:
- Members of the Armed Forces and their dependants
- Members of the Merchant Marines and their dependants
- U.S. citizens temporarily residing outside of the U.S.
Recent Changes to the Michigan Constitution and State Election Laws
In 2022, Michigan Voters passed Proposal 2 which amended the State Constitution to include additional voting rights and protections. Subsequent legislation has been passed into law with changes to Michigan's election system that became effective for the 2024 election cycle. These changes include:
- 9 days of early voting prior to all State and Federal elections
- Creation of a permanent absentee ballot voter list
- State funded return postage for absentee ballots and applications
- Opportunity for voters to cure absentee ballot signature deficiencies up to 3-days after Election Day
- Counting of military or overseas voters' ballots up to 6-days after Election Day
- Ability for voters to track their absentee ballots online
- Expansion of drop box locations with video monitoring
- Expanded voter identification options
Voters may now cast their absentee ballot by taking their absentee ballot to their Early Voting Site or Election Day Polling Location. Voters should bring their absentee ballot inside their secrecy sleeve with the ballot stub still attached to the ballot to their voting location. Voters will fill out an application and election inspectors will update their voting status in the ePollbook. The voter will be directed to a booth where they will be given an opportunity to review their ballot and unfold the ballot into a ballot-length secrecy sleeve before continuing through the process of voting in person. Casting an absentee ballot in the tabulator allows the voter the opportunity to correct any issues they may find during the tabulation such as marking the ballot incorrectly.
All clerk offices within Kent County will be open at least 8 hours the weekend before an election to process voter registration and issue absentee ballots. Contact your local clerk’s office for their schedule.
Expansion of Photo Identification Cards
State law requires you to show photo identification to vote or sign an affidavit saying you are not in possession of ID at the time you vote. Acceptable photo IDs include the following:
- Michigan driver's license or State photo ID card
- Out-of-state driver's license (if current)
- CPL permit
- Educational institution (e.g. college, university, trade school, etc.)