close menu
This website uses cookies to store your accessibility preferences. No personal / identifying information is stored. More info.

FAQ

Questions on Voter Registration, Voting Absentee, Where is my ballot and voting at the polls.

Election

What does my November Ballot look like?
What are my options for marking my ballot?
   

Options for Straight Ticket, Split Ticket and Mixed Ticket Voting

Michigan is one of a few states that allow voters to vote “straight ticket” in a general election, which means voters may fill in one oval or box next to a party name to cast a vote for every candidate of that political party. Michigan also allows for voters to select the straight party option but then cast votes for individual candidates of a different party (“split ticket”). Because voters have different ballot marking options, it is critical to provide appropriate and accurate ballot marking instructions with all absent voter ballots and on all ballot secrecy sleeves in the polling place. In the November Election, voters have the following options:

“Straight Ticket” Voting: Voters may vote in the straight party race and select the party of their choosing - this will award votes up to the maximum allowed (and maximum candidates available) for each partisan race for the voter’s chosen party. The candidates receive “indirect votes” based on the voter’s single straight-party ballot selection. For example: Casting a vote for the Ice Cream Party in the straight party race will indirectly cast a vote for all candidates running under that party to the maximum allowed for each race in which the party is participating. If there are any races in which the Ice Cream Party is not participating, no votes will be cast in that race. If the voter wishes to vote in any non-partisan races and proposals, the voter must make selections in these races separately.

“Split Ticket” VotingVoters may vote in the straight party race and select the party of their choosing, but then vote directly in an individual race (or multiple individual races) by directly voting for a candidate from a different party, voting for a candidate with no party affiliation, or casting a write-in vote. As with straight ticket voting, voting in the straight party race will indirectly cast a vote for all candidates running under that party to the maximum allowed for each race in which the party is participating, except where the voter overrides an indirect vote by a casting direct vote for a candidate of a different party, a candidate with no party affiliation, or a write-in vote. For example: If a voter casts a straight party vote for the Ice Cream Party but directly casts a vote for one individual candidate of the Pie Party, the straight party vote will indirectly cast a vote for all candidates running under the Ice Cream Party to the maximum allowed for each race in which the Ice Cream Party is participating, except for the one race in which the voter cast a vote for the Pie Party candidate. If there are any races in which the Ice Cream Party is not participating, no votes will be cast in that race if no direct vote for another candidate is made. If the voter wishes to vote in any non-partisan races and proposals, the voter must make selections in these races separately.

“Mixed Ticket” Voting: Voters may decline to vote in the straight party race and directly select candidates of their choice from any party (or no party affiliation and write-ins) up to the maximum allowed for each race.

Other Notes: If a voter selects the “straight party” race but then votes for individual candidates of the same party, the vote for those individual candidates will still count, and will only count once. If a voter wishes to vote for a write-in candidate (whether or not they select the straight party option), the voter must fill out the oval for write-in candidate and write the name or it will be an invalid write-in and will not be counted.

 

What's the deadline to register?

In order to vote in the November 3, 2020 election, your completed voter registration application must be received or postmarked by October 19, 2020.

If you register after October 19, 2020  it must be at your city clerk’s office.  

You’ll need to bring your proof of eligibility and residency.

Proof of eligibility:
To be eligible to register to vote 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)
  • A United States citizen
  • At least 18 years of age (when you vote)
  • Not currently serving a sentence in jail or prison

Proof of residency:
You must show proof of where you live. Documents must have your name and current address. You can show a digital copy of documents. Acceptable documents include:

  • Michigan driver’s license or state ID
  • Current utility bill
  • Bank statement
  • Paycheck or government check
  • Other government document
I've moved. Do I have to update my registration?
  • If you move to a new city or township, you must re-register. If you move within the city and are already registered to vote, you only need to update your address with the city/township clerk.
If the voter moved out of the City ON OR BEFORE September 4, 2020 (60 days) you will need to register in your new community in order to vote.
Vote by mail.  Is it a secure process?

Any voter may request to vote absentee.  They must fill out and sign an absent voter ballot application.  When City Hall receives this application the voter is looked up on the Michigan Qualified Voter File (MQVF), the signature on the application is verified against your voter registration record before a ballot is issued. Forging someone else’s signature on an application and submitting it to receive a ballot is a crime, often prosecuted as a felony. City Hall may call a voter if the signature on file doesn't match with the application.   If the voter comes into City Hall they must have their ID with them.

  • Once the application signature is verified, it  is marked received. 
  • A ballot is issued to the voter showing the date it is being sent and the ballot number issued to the voter.  A ballot may be issued through the mail, in-person or emailed if the voter is oversea . 
  • The application is then filed in the clerk’s office. 
  • Once the ballot is returned back to City Hall, the voter signature on the return envelope must match the signature on file, along with the ballot number.  If everything matches it then is recorded as received. Each night All ballots are counted and match the State's count for Sylvan Lake and remained locked up.

On Election Day all absentee ballots are turned over to the Absentee Counting Board.  

VOTING ABSENTEE

An application for an absentee ballot was mailed to every registered voter in Michigan. If you did not receive one or cannot find it, you can:

  • Call your city clerk and ask that an application be mailed to you
  • Download an application here, to return it in person, by email or mail to your local clerk 
When is the deadline to apply for an absentee ballot?

Requests for an absent voter ballot must be received by your city clerk no later than 3 p.m. the Saturday before the election. Voters can request an absentee ballot in person at their city clerk’s office by Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, at 4 p.m.

If you request your AV ballot the day before the election or on Election Day, you must vote the ballot in the clerk's office.

When do I need to deliver my ballot?

Your completed absentee ballot must be delivered to your City Clerk at City Hall by 8 p.m. on Election Day.  We recommend using the ballot drop box (circle drive in front of City Hall) instead of mailing your ballot. 

Did my ballot arrive?

All registered voters can track their ballot by looking up their information in the voter information section of this website.

What if I received an absentee ballot, but want to vote at the polls now?

Before Election Day - Bring your absentee ballot back to City Hall and it will be spoiled so you can vote at the polls.

Election Day – Bring your absentee ballot to the Precinct and turn it into election inspector when turning in your application to vote.  You will be issued a new ballot in the precinct.

What if I have an emergency on Election Day?

If an emergency, like 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 before 4 p.m. on Election Day.

I submitted my ballot. Can I change my vote?

If a voter has already voted absentee and wishes to change their vote, a voter can spoil their ballot by submitting a written request to their city clerk.

  • The voter must sign the request and state if they would like a new absentee ballot.
  • The voter must surrender the spoiled ballot.
  • This request must be received by 5 p.m. the Friday before the election if received by mail. An absentee ballot may be spoiled in person at the clerk’s office until 4 p.m. the Monday prior to the election.
  • There is no option on Election Day to spoil an absentee ballot that has been received by the clerk.
Who is running for City Council?  Any ballot proposals?