The East Lansing City Clerk’s Office opened a satellite location on Monday at the Hannah Community Center, where residents can “register to vote, vote absentee and turn in their voted ballots,” according to a press release. Residents may also visit the City Clerk’s office inside City Hall to do the same things.
With the satellite location opening, ELi gathered information from the City of East Lansing and spoke to East Lansing poll inspector Kepler Domurat-Sousa to let you know what voting before and on Nov. 3 looks like.
Regardless of your method of voting, Domurat-Sousa said, follow the instructions carefully. Domurat-Sousa said sometimes people put lines and draw X’s in the ovals instead of shading the ovals in, or they make stray marks, all of which can mean their ballots are rejected.
Other times, individuals vote for too many people when they can vote for more than one candidate for an office (like school board). This also invalidates their choices for that specific selection.
Absentee voters should also pay attention to specific rules for signing and submitting their ballots.
For those voting on Election Day, Domurat-Sousa said that, for the Aug. 4 election, his assigned polling location observed strict public health protocols. All inspectors had masks and regularly sanitized the secrecy sleeves. Voting booths were spaced further apart and lines were set up so people would stay 6 feet apart.
Registering to Vote
Through Oct. 19, East Lansing residents can visit www.michigan.gov/vote to register to vote. Registered voters can also verify and change their personal information there, if necessary. After Oct. 19, residents must register to vote at the City Clerk’s office or its satellite location.
Michigan also permits same-day voter registration, so you can register to vote at your polling place until 8 p.m. on Nov. 3. When you register to vote, you should be prepared to present proof of eligibility and residency.
But, according to Domurat-Sousa, registering to vote beforehand is always a good idea. It helps voters avoid lines and day-of issues.
Voting Before Nov. 3
In Michigan, you have two options for voting early: absentee at home and absentee in-person.
If you would like to vote absentee at home, you must request a ballot by 5 p.m. on Oct. 30. You may do so online or by downloading an application and submitting it to the Clerk’s office or satellite location. You can also go to the Clerk’s office to ask for an absentee ballot.
You can submit your ballot by mailing it back, bringing it to the City Clerk’s office or its satellite location, or dropping at the ballot drop boxes at City Hall, the MSU-CATA Transportation Center on Shaw Lane, or the East Lansing Department of Public Works. After you submit your ballot, you can track it to see that it was received at www.Michigan.gov/vote.
NOTE: Ballots must be received by 8 p.m. on Nov. 3 to be counted in the election.
You can also cast an in-person absentee ballot at the Clerk’s office or its satellite location. You should make sure to bring identification. You can request an absentee ballot, fill it out there, and submit all at once. If you are not registered to vote, you can register and continue with the in-person absentee voting process in one visit.
The Michigan Secretary of State explains that the process is safe and secure, stating that, “Voters requesting to vote by absentee ballot from home, by mail, or in-person must provide their signature or personal identification information at the time of submitting their application, which once received is verified against the voter’s signature and information on record. If the signatures do not exactly match, the application or ballot may not be tabulated.”
Voting on Nov. 3
This is the classic Election Day experience, and you will need identification for it.
What about masks? As Domurat-Sousa explained, polling places have already held one election with safety precautions in place for the pandemic. Emergency orders from Ingham County and the State of Michigan state that masks are not mandatory in polling places. However, masking is certainly permitted and encouraged at polling places.
Do you appreciate this important election information, specific to your local community of East Lansing? Keep it coming by supporting us today!