Michigan State Summary

October 23, 2014

Michigan is improving accessibility at polling places and the training of poll workers, but it should also implement vote centers and expand opportunities to vote before Election Day.


States should adopt online voter registration (“OLVR”).

No online voter registration, although voters may update their registration online while changing their driver’s license address.


Interstate exchanges of voter information should be expanded.

Michigan is a member of the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck (IVRC), but not of the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC).


States should seamlessly integrate voter data acquired through DMVs with their statewide voter registration lists.

Transmission of data between DMVs and election administrators is almost entirely paperless, but still requires a “wet ink” signature on paper for new voter registrants.


Schools should be used as polling places; to address any related security concerns, Election Day should be an in-service day.

Michigan has strong statutory language regarding use of schools as polling places.


States should consider establishing vote centers to achieve economies of scale in polling place management while also facilitating voting at convenient locations.

Michigan has neither considered nor adopted legislation establishing vote centers.


Jurisdictions should develop models and tools to assist them in effectively allocating resources across polling places.

Michigan law requires at least one voting station for every 300 registered voters. Jurisdictions in Michigan are encouraged to utilize the tools made available by the Commission. In 2012, voters waited an average of 21.9 minutes in line.


Jurisdictions should transition to electronic pollbooks.

Michigan uses electronic pollbooks in the majority of its jurisdictions, but there is no statewide requirement.


Jurisdictions should recruit public and private sector employees, as well as high school and college students, to become poll workers.

Michigan law allows for high school poll workers, provided that a student is at least 16 years old. We encourage election officials to establish robust programs to recruit public and private sector employees as well. State employees in Michigan also receive a paid day off on even-year November election dates, and are encouraged to serve as poll workers.


States should institute poll worker training standards.

Michigan has statutory language prescribing training for poll workers, and its Secretary of State’s website includes a vast number of trainings and manuals, in addition to an interactive e-learning center.


Election authorities should establish advisory groups for voters with disabilities and for those with limited English proficiency.

No statewide statutory policy in place. We encourage Michigan to adopt this recommendation of the Commission.


States and localities must adopt comprehensive management practices to assure accessible polling places.

Michigan uses a DOJ-issued accessibility checklist and a series of very helpful videos on accessibility issues.


States should survey and audit polling places to determine their accessibility.

Michigan requires polling places to meet accessibility standards, but does not have statewide, statutory polling-place survey or audit requirements in place. In past elections, the Michigan Bureau of Elections coordinated with the Michigan Protection & Advocacy Service to survey each polling location. Michigan employs an election specialist dedicated to polling place accessibility.


Jurisdictions should provide bilingual poll workers to any polling place with a significant number of voters who do not speak English.

Michigan’s (partially covered by Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act) Department of State’s website posts some, but not all, forms in Spanish; it makes no mention of bilingual poll workers and neither do its laws. But its SOS states the office provides some translated forms, and that jurisdictions with large numbers of limited English-proficient voters provide bilingual poll workers.


Jurisdictions should test all election materials for plain language and usability.

No statewide statutory policy in place to test for plain language and usability.


States should expand opportunities to vote before Election Day.

Michigan does not allow for any early voting options.


States should provide ballots and registration materials to military and overseas voters via their websites.

Michigan refers to both the Federal Postcard Application (FPCA) and the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB) on its website, and includes a link directing users to the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s website, but does not directly link to either the FPCA or the FWAB.


The standard-setting and certification process for voting machines must be reformed.

N/A; a federal question.


Audits of voting equipment must be conducted after each election as part of a comprehensive audit program, and data concerning machine performance must be publicly disclosed in a common data format.

Michigan has no state requirements for post-election audits.


Local jurisdictions should gather and report voting-related transaction data for the purpose of improving the voter experience.

Michigan reports registration and turnout data, but could do more by way of data captured on wait times, frequent polling place problems, etc.

READ: Did We Fix That? 2014 Michigan State Summary

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