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City clerk urges college bound students & firsttime voters to verify their voter registration status | Community Spirit

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City clerk urges college bound students & firsttime voters to verify their voter registration status
City clerk urges college bound students & firsttime voters to verify their voter registration status

News Release:

Unbeknownst to many people, there is a Michigan Election Law that could potentially

hinder first time voters from voting with an absentee ballot. For example, if a high school

senior registered to vote during a voter registration drive and then attempted to obtain an

absentee ballot while away at school, the absentee ballot would be denied in accordance

with the Michigan Election Law.

 

Grand Rapids City Clerk Lauri Parks recalled, “In 2008, I received numerous calls

from parents trying to assist their out of town college student in obtaining an absentee ballot

as a first-time voter. I was truly disheartened to tell parents of this little known election law

which prevented me from sending their child an absentee ballot.”

 

Parks stated, “This year I am being proactive in getting the word out to graduating

high school seniors as well as other first-time voters who may have registered to vote with a

“mail-in” voter registration form so they are not faced with this situation in November.”

First-time voter (MCL 168.509t). If you have never voted in Michigan and register

by mail, you must appear in person to vote in the first election in which you wish to

participate. This requirement does not apply if:

1) You personally hand deliver the mail-in voter registration form to your county, city

or township clerk's office instead of mailing the form;

2) You are 60 years of age or more;

3) You are disabled; or

4) You are eligible to vote under the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment

(MOVE) act.

Additionally, if you have never voted in Michigan and register by mail, you may also

be subject to an identification requirement provided under federal law. The federal

identification requirement states that you must:

1) Accurately enter your state issued driver license number or personal ID card

number where requested on the voter registration form.

OR

2) Send one of the following forms of identification when mailing the voter

registration form to your county, city or township clerk: a COPY of a current and

valid photo identification (such as a driver’s license or personal ID card) or a

COPY of a paycheck stub, utility bill, bank statement or a government document

which lists your name and address. DO NOT SEND ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS

BY MAIL.

Clerk Parks suggests the following to assure your college students and/or first-time

voters will be eligible to vote by absentee ballot this fall:

1) If 18 years of age, vote in person in the August 7, 2012, State Primary Election.

2) Contact your local city/township clerk’s office to determine if you are eligible to

request an absentee ballot as a first-time voter.

3) Request your absentee ballot “in-person” at your local city or township clerk’s

office.

4) Register or re-register to vote “in-person” at the Secretary of State Office or with

your local city or township clerk.

Other important dates to remember: July 9, 2012 is the last day to register to vote for

the August 7, 2012 State Primary Election.

If you have additional questions, contact the City Clerk’s Office at 616-456-3010 or

visit our website at grcity.us/clerk.

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