Michigan Resources for Voters with Disabilities

What are my rights as a voter with a disability in Michigan?

In Michigan, you have the right to the following as protected by federal law. Election staff must be trained on and respect these rights:

  • Accessible voter registration
  • Accessible polling places 
  • Policies and procedures that do not discriminate against you based on your disability
  • Accessible, available, and operational voting systems
  • Your service animal to accompany you inside the polling place
  • The right to vote privately and independently or with assistance, if needed
  • Assistance from a person of your choice, who can be a friend, family member, or poll worker (but not your boss, union agent or someone who has authority over you at work)
Who can register to vote in Michigan?

To register to vote in Michigan, you must be: 

  • A citizen of the United States of America
  • At least 18 years of age when you vote 
  • A Michigan resident at the time you register and a resident of your city or township for at least 30 days when you vote

If you are a student, unhoused, a survivor of intimate partner violence with related concerns, or living with a mental or physical impairment, you may still register and vote.

In Michigan, you may not register or vote if you:

  • Have had your right to vote specifically removed by a court order, unless your right has been restored
  • Are currently incarcerated for a felony conviction. You are eligible to vote if you are on probation or parole
  • You claim the right to vote elsewhere

Register to vote now if you are eligible!

What are my rights when registering to vote in Michigan?

Federal law requires assistance in registering to vote from offices that provide public assistance or state-funded programs serving people with disabilities. Responsibilities of these offices include:

  • Providing voter registration forms
  • Assisting voters in completing the forms
  • Transmitting completed forms to the appropriate election official

All aspects of voter registration must be accessible.

What are the different ways to vote in Michigan?
  • Early Voting
    • In person
    • By mail
  • In person on Election Day
  • Absentee (vote by mail)
    • Mail in ballot
    • Drop off ballot
  • While abroad as a citizen or military through an absentee ballot request
What are the ways to request an Absentee Ballot in Michigan?
  • In person at your local city or township clerk office.
  • Online – Registered voters can request an absentee ballot online before 5 p.m. the Friday before the election.
  • Call your city or township clerk and ask for an application to be mailed to you
  • Download an application to return by mail, or in person, to your local city or township clerk
  • Apply online for an accessible electronic ballot

Absentee request forms are also available in:

  • Large Print
  • Spanish
  • Arabic
  • Bengali
  • Farsi

Request an absentee ballot now or contact your local election official.

How is the Michigan mail-in or absentee ballot process made accessible for voters with print disabilities?
  • The absentee request form is available in Large Print
  • You may also request an accessible electronic ballot online.
    • You have the option to join the permanent accessible absent voter list by selecting the box on your application. A link to the application will be emailed to you before each election.

For more assistance or information, please contact your local election official.

What accommodations are available for voters with disabilities at polling locations in Michigan?

Federal law requires polling places to meet minimum compliance standards for individuals with special needs. 

  • The Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act of 1984 (VAEHA) requires accessible polling places in federal elections for elderly individuals and people with disabilities. Where no accessible location is available to serve as a polling place, voters must be provided an alternate means of voting in person on Election Day.
     
  • The Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) requires at least one accessible voting system for persons with disabilities at each polling place in federal elections.  The accessible voting system must provide the same opportunity for access and participation, including privacy and independence, that other voters receive. 

If you want to check that your polling location meets these standards or find an alternative polling location, contact your local election official.

If you are unable to stand in line, you can:

  • Request to be moved to the front of the line or refuse to be moved to the front of the line
  • Request that a chair be provided or refuse to accept a chair
  • Request to have your place in line held and notified when it is your turn

Michigan polling locations use one of three accessible voting machines, Dominion Image Cast X, ExpressVote or Verity Touch Rider.

What are the rules of assistance for disabled voters in Michigan?
  • You may request assistance from a poll worker or receive assistance from a person of your choice with the following exceptions:  
    • your employer or an agent of your employer
    • an officer or agent of your union
       
  • A poll worker cannot force you to accept assistance.
How can I prepare to use accessible voting equipment prior to Election Day?

Michigan provides a YouTube playlist with videos going over the accessible voting machines available to voters.

You can also contact your local election official for more information or assistance.

Who do I contact if I have problems when voting in Michigan?

You can contact the Michigan Secretary of State by filling out an online form and selecting from the Elections lists of reason for contact. 

You can email the Bureau of Elections at Elections@Michigan.gov or call their office at 800-292-5973.

You can also fill out a Violation of Civil Rights Complaint Form and submit it to the US Department of Justice by one of the following methods:

  • Online, through the form’s submission process - this is the fastest method.
  • By fax at (202) 616-9881. You MUST include “ATTN: Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Complaints" at the top of your fax submission for it to be processed correctly.
  • By mailing your form to: 

                 U.S. Department of Justice
                 Office of the Inspector General Investigations Division
                 ATTN: Civil Rights & Civil Liberties Complaints
                 950 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
                 Washington, DC 20530

For additional assistance, The National Network of ADA Centers can provide local contact information for other organizations you may wish to contact, including your Regional ADA Center or ADA Knowledge Translation Center, or Federal Agencies and Resources.

Additional Resources