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Voting in your jammies

With the passage of Proposal 3 last November, Michiganders now have more convenient ways to make their voices heard at the ballot box.
Prop 3 campaign sign

Prop 3 campaign sign /Amanda Sterling

Other questions about voting? The Grand Rapids City Clerk is there to help us!


300 Monroe Ave NW

Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Phone: (616) 456-3010

Email: [email protected]


When it comes to voting rights, Michigan was hurtled into the 21st century during the 2018 midterm elections. Proposal 3, a package of voting reforms designed to modernize our voting systems, decisively passed (67% to 33%) which gave Michiganders a multitude of ways to make our voices heard. Our great state, which already had a generous absentee voting period for those who qualified, opened up the system to allow nearly all voters to vote via absentee ballot. So, what in the heck does this mean and how does it affect you?

Absentee ballots must be requested in writing. A big part of Prop 3 was ensuring that voting is secure and accessible, so the Clerk’s Office will help ensure security by matching your signature with what they have on file from your voter registration application. You may apply for an absentee ballot up to 75 days before an election and a paper ballot will be mailed to your residence when the ballots are ready (about 45 days before the election). After you’ve marked your ballot (in your jammies, sippin’ your coffee – not after waiting in a LONG line on a cold, rainy November day), you may either mail the ballot back to the Clerk’s Office, drop it off in person, or drop your ballot in the election drop box located near the Clerk’s Office at 300 Ottawa.

Frequently Asked Questions About Absentee Voting

How do I get an absentee ballot?
Voters who have met the photo ID rule may add their name to the City Clerk’s list to have an absentee ballot application mailed to them automatically. Sign up for the absentee voter list by going to this website: After you receive the application, simply return your completed form to the Clerk’s Office and they will mail you an absentee ballot when the ballots are ready.

How do I meet the photo ID rule?

  1. When you register to vote by mail, you must accurately enter your state-issued driver’s license number or personal ID number where requested on the voter registration form.    
  2. If you do not enter this information, you may send a copy of one of the following forms that confirm your ID when mailing in a voter registration form:
  • Copy of your current, valid photo ID
  • Paycheck stub
  • Utility bill
  • Bank statement or
  • Government document listing your name and address.

How do I know if the Clerk received my ballot?

Go to the State of Michigan Website to see when both your absent voter application and ballot was issued to you and when the Clerk received it.

What if I change my mind and want to vote in person so I can get a sticker?!

If you already received your absentee ballot in the mail, but want to vote in person on election day, just bring your ballot to the precinct and give it to an election worker and they will void your ballot then give you a new one. If you no longer have your absentee ballot and have not already turned it into the Clerk’s Office for processing, you can sign an affidavit affirming this and you will be given a new ballot.

Will my vote count?

YES! Voted absentee ballots remain sealed and are kept in a secure location accessible only to Clerk’s Office staff. On election day all absent voter ballots are delivered to the Absent Voter Processing Board, which is a group of election workers, who then open and tabulate the ballots. The vote totals from the Absent Voter Processing Board for each race or proposal are added to the precinct totals. All absent voter ballots received no later than 8pm on election day are tabulated.

Upcoming Elections

  • August 6, 2019: Local/Municipal Primaries (candidates to be determined after April 23 filing deadline)
  • November 5, 2019: Local/Municipal General Election 

Your vote matters!!! Local elections in non-presidential election years often have low turnout and can be decided by less than a few hundred votes. Let’s make our voices heard, Eastown!!!

This article was also posted in Eastown Access, the Eastown Community Association Newsletter


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