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7 Tips Before Casting Your Ballot

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Election Day is Tuesday, November 6.  Polls are open from 7 am to 8 pm.

An estimated 66% of the people expected to vote in Michigan on November 6 will be voters age 50 and over.  Are you ready?

Here are 7 tips to keep in mind as you prepare to cast your ballot:

1. Remember to mark your ballot individually for each candidate you want to vote for.

As a result of a federal court decision last month, Michigan voters will NOT have a “straight ticket” voting option on their November ballots. That’s the option Michigan voters used to have that let you vote for all the candidates of a single party by just completing one arrow at the top of your ballot. This year everyone will need to mark their ballots individually for each candidate they want to vote for.

2. Expect to need more time to complete your ballot.

The ballot is long this year, which means voters will be spending more time in the voting booth, especially with the straight-ticket voting option gone. So plan ahead.

3. Preview your ballot.

You don’t have to wait until November 6 to see what your ballot will look like. You can go to and type in your name, zip code, birth month and year to confirm that you’re registered to vote. Then on the right side of that page, click on “View Your Sample Ballot” to see all the candidates and ballot questions that will appear on your individual ballot. You can also link to candidate websites from there.

4. Be ready for the ballot proposals.

Depending on where you live, expect to see some local proposals on your ballot. Plus, everyone’s ballots will include the following three statewide ballot proposals:

  • Proposal 1 would legalize recreational marijuana for individuals 21 and over.
  • Proposal 2 would amend the Michigan Constitution to create an independent citizens’ redistricting commission to re-draw Michigan’s Congressional and State Legislative districts when the Census comes out every 10 years.
  • Proposal 3 would amend the constitution with several provisions involving voting rights, including allowing voters to choose to vote absentee without giving a reason, allowing same-day voter registration, and restoring the straight-ticket voting option.

5. Compare candidates’ positions on issues.

You can follow AARP Michigan on Facebook for videos and voting tips. To learn more about AARP’s priority issues for federal candidates, visit .

6. Don’t forget your ID.

In Michigan, every voter must either show photo ID at the polls OR sign a form attesting that you don’t have one of the photo IDs on Michigan's list, or that you do but forgot to bring it with you. Acceptable forms of photo ID are your driver’s license or state-issued personal ID; federal or state government-issued photo ID; U.S. passport; military ID with photo; student ID with photo from a high school or accredited institution of higher education; or tribal ID with photo. If you do not have one of these forms of ID, you can still vote if you sign a form called Affidavit of Voter Not in Possession of Picture Identification. So long as you sign that form you can still cast your ballot, and it will be counted with all the other ballots on Election Day. But poll workers don't use these affidavits very often, and you will avoid delays by remembering to bring your photo ID with you.

7. What if there’s a problem at the polls?

First, ask to speak to the person in charge of your polling place. If that person cannot resolve the issue, call your local clerk or call the Michigan Bureau of Elections at (517) 373-2540. Or you can call the national nonpartisan Election Protection Hotline at (866) OUR-VOTE.

Be The Difference. VOTE.  

AARP doesn’t endorse candidates and we don’t give money to candidates or political parties. Instead, we have a proud 32-year history of non-partisan voter engagement, providing voters with information to help them choose the candidates that best reflect their views and values. Your right to vote is powerful. We hope these tips help you make the most of it, and that you will share this information with your friends and family.

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