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Everything you need to know to vote in Michigan's 2020 primary

The Detroit News

Michigan residents on Tuesday are heading to the polls to choose the presidential candidate they'd like to see running in November. 

Also at stake are a number of local ballot initiatives, including school bond issues, pot shops and the tri-county millage for the Detroit Institute of Arts. 

Here is everything you need to know to participate in Michigan's primary election:

The basics 

Election date: Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Time: Polls open for most of the state at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. However, four counties in the western part of the Upper Peninsula — Gogebic, Iron, Dickinson and Menominee — are in the central time zone and stay open until 9 p.m. EST. 

Location: You can look up your polling place here.

What is on the ballot: The Secretary of State's Office allows registered voters the chance to preview their ballots before Election Day. Check it out here

Generally, voters during this election will chose to vote for either a Democratic or Republican presidential candidate, depending on their party affiliation. 

There are no statewide ballots proposals up for a vote during the primary but many individual communities do have ballot initiatives. One major initiative is the Detroit Institute of Arts millage. Learn more about that here

Who is running?

Many names will appear on the ballot, but several of the candidates, both Republican and Democratic, have suspended their campaigns.

For Republicans, appearing on the ballot are incumbent President Donald Trump and Mark Sanford, Joe Walsh and Bill Weld. 

For Democrats, here are the following choices (in alphabetical order):

Michael Bennet | Joe Biden | Michael R. Bloomberg | Cory Booker | Pete Buttigieg | Julian Castro | John Delaney | Tulsi Gabbard | Amy Klobuchar | Bernie Sanders | Joe Sestak | Tom Steyer | Elizabeth Warren | Marianne Williamson | Andrew Yang

We've written localized profiles of many of these candidates. Click on their name above to read the stories. 

Looking for endorsements?

The Detroit News Editorial Board has endorsed Joe Biden for the Democratic Party nominee in the primary election. Endorsements are determined independently by the editorial board and have no influence on news coverage. 

Where to find results

We will have full primary election coverage at

You can follow along with results as they come in here

Are you eligible to vote?

In order to be eligible you must:

  • Be a Michigan resident (at the time you register) and a resident of your city or township for at least 30 days (when you vote)
  • Be a United States citizen
  • Be at least 18 years of age (when you vote)
  • Not currently be serving a sentence in jail or prison (if you are awaiting sentencing or released from jail or prison, you are eligible).
  • Check to see if you are registered.

How to register

You can register to vote through Election Day.

If you’re not registered and want to vote on Tuesday, March 10, you must register in person at your local city or township clerk's office. Some clerk offices have opened satellite offices for voter registration. 

You must show proof of where you live. Documents must have your name and current address (digital copies are also accepted):

  • Current utility bill
  • Bank statement
  • Paycheck or government check
  • Other government document

After registering, you can vote an absent voter ballot at the clerk’s office or you can vote at your polling place on Election Day (March 10).

More info for military and overseas civilian voters

Voting absentee is different this year

Do you want to vote absentee? Thanks to a new law, anyone eligible to vote can vote absentee. However, requests to have an absentee voter ballot mailed to you must be received by your clerk no later than 5 p.m. the Friday before the election.

If you’re already registered at your current address, you can request an absent voter ballot in person at your clerk’s office anytime up to 4 p.m. Monday, March 9. 

If you’re registering to vote or updating your address by appearing at your clerk’s office on Election Day, you can request an absentee voter ballot at the same time you register. If you request your absentee voter ballot the day before the election or on Election Day, you must vote the ballot in the clerk's office. 

After receiving your absent voter ballot, you have until 8 p.m. on Election Day to complete the ballot and return it to the clerk's office. Your ballot will not be counted unless your signature is on the return envelope and matches your signature on file.

If you received assistance voting the ballot, then the signature of the person who helped you must also be on the return envelope. Only you, a family member or person residing in your household, a mail carrier or election official is authorized to deliver your signed ballot to your clerk's office.

What if there's an emergency?

If an emergency, such as a sudden illness or family death, prevents you from reaching the polls on Election Day, you may request an emergency absent voter ballot. Requests for an emergency ballot must be submitted after the deadline for regular absent voter ballots has passed but before 4 p.m. on Election Day. The emergency must have occurred at a time that made it impossible for you to apply for a regular absent voter ballot. Please contact your local clerk for more information.

How to spoil a ballot

You've sent your absentee ballot in but now your candidate of choice has dropped out of the race? Or maybe you've changed your mind after watching that last debate? You can spoil your ballot by submitting a written request to your city or township clerk.

You must sign the request and state if you would like a new absentee ballot mailed to you or if you will vote at the polls. This request must be received by 2 p.m.on Saturday, March 7 if received by mail.

An absentee ballot may be spoiled in person at the clerk’s office until 4 p.m. on Monday, March 9. You can then get a new absentee ballot there or vote at the polls.

Remember, there is no option on Election Day to spoil an absentee ballot that has been received by the clerk.

What other states are voting that day?

Idaho, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota and Washington will also be voting on Tuesday.