Know Your Voter Rights

October 1, 2020 Mary Heinemann

This is a monumental election year culminating in the General Election on November 3rd, 2020. The International Institute of Metro Detroit is here to provide information on your voter rights in order to make your voice heard in our democracy when it matters most. We have assembled important information that will be helpful for Detroit’s immigrant community on election dates, locations, and available resources compiled from voting rights and Michigan specific experts. It’s best to have a voting plan early! 

Voter Registration

You can register before October 20, 2020 through the following options;

  • Online at www.mi.gov/VoterRegistration
  • At a Michigan Secretary of State branch office
  • At your city or township clerk’s office or your county clerk’s office
  • At any state agency that provides public assistance or services to people with disabilities
  • By mailing in a completed voter registration application to your city clerk postmarked by October 19, 2020
  • Through a voter registration drive
  • YOU MUST BE A U.S. CITIZEN TO VOTE

Voter Registration Links and Resources 

Voting Rights

Election Day- November 3rd, 2020

  • You can register to vote up until 8pm on November 3rd by providing your ‘proof of residency’ to your city clerk’s office
  • Eligible voters not on the list or without their voter registration or ID card can also sign an affidavit at the polls that they are eligible to vote in that precinct
  • Find transportation to vote! 
  • For first time voters you may need to bring some documentation, what will work? 
    • Proof of residency” is a document with your name, current address in the city you live. Paper or electronic copies of the following will work;
      • Michigan driver’s license or state ID card
      • A utility bill
      • A bank statement
      • A paycheck
      • A government check
      • Any other government document

Voting Assistance

  • Can I get a ballot in my language? If you vote in Colfax Township or the City of Fennville, you have the right to a ballot and election materials in Spanish. If you vote in the City of Hamtramck, you have the right to a ballot and election materials in Bengali. If you do not read or write English, and a ballot is not available in your language, you have the right to assistance from anyone you choose. However, the person cannot be your employer, an agent of your employer or an officer or agent of your labor union.” (ACLU)
  • Spanish, Arabic, Bengali, Mandarin, Sudanese, Korean, Thai, Hindi, Burmese, Nepali options are all available through Michigan SOS 
  • Call the nonpartisan Election Protection hotlines for assistance at any time;  
  • For assistance in English, call 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683)
  • Para recibir ayuda en español, llama a 888-VE-Y-VOTA (888-839-8682); 
  •       ) للمساعدة باللغة العربية، اتصل على: 844-YALLA-US (844-925-5287)؛ 
  • For assistance in Bangla, Cantonese, English, Hindi, Korean, Mandarin, Tagalog, Urdu or Vietnamese, call 888-API-VOTE (888-274-8683).

You, your voice, and your vote count. Thank you for taking time to know your voter rights and therefore strengthen your community and our democracy. 

“WARNING: You must be a United States citizen to vote. If you are not a United States citizen, you will not be issued an absent voter ballot. A person making a false statement in this absent voter ballot application is guilty of a misdemeanor. It is a violation of Michigan election law for a person other than an immediate family member, a person residing in your household, or, if neither of those are available, a registered elector you select, to offer to return, agree to return, or solicit to return your absent voter ballot application to the clerk. An assistant authorized by the clerk who receives absent voter ballot applications at a location other than the clerk’s office must have credentials signed by the clerk. Ask to see his or her credentials before entrusting your application with a person claiming to have the clerk’s authorization to return your application.” 

Additional Resources

ACLUhttps://www.aclumich.org/en/know-your-rights/voting

Michigan SOShttps://www.michigan.gov/sos/0,4670,7-127-1633—,00.html

Election Protection- https://866ourvote.org/resources/#1524683963356-e1e39d95-b751

Strategies for Mobilizing Voters- https://alliance1.org/web/policy/election-2020-civic-engagement-voter-education/web/policy/election-2020-civic-engagement-voter-education.aspx 

https://calnonprofits.org/images/VWYM_2020/Tips-to-VWYM-2020.pdf

Voting Rights, Language Access State of Michigan-  https://www.michigan.gov/sos/0,4670,7-127-1633_102334-538867–,00.html