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Rack the Vote

For the first time, voters aged 18 to 35 represent the largest voting bloc in the United States. When you vote, you have the power to shape policy and politics, and to prioritize what you care about. But according to data from the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement, only 44.7% of eligible Michigan students voted in the 2016 presidential election, and only 41% voted in the 2018 midterm election. We can do better.

Don’t be fooled by thinking that your vote doesn’t count. In 2016 alone, more than 20,000 eligible University of Michigan students did not vote. The margin of victory for the state in the presidential election was 10,704 votes. Rack the Vote is a nonpartisan resource to direct members of the Rackham community to information that will help them navigate Michigan’s voting laws and make their voices heard. Look for #RackTheVote on social, and please use it to spread the word and encourage your friends to vote. Below is some information from michiganvoting.org.

Voting Information


Can I register to vote?

You can register to vote in the November 3 election in Michigan if:

  • You are a U.S. citizen;
  • You are a resident of a city or township in Michigan for at least 30 days (or will be by November 3, 2020);
  • You are at least 18 years old (or will be by November 3, 2020); and
  • You are not currently serving a sentence in jail or prison.

What address do I use to register to vote?

You use the address you consider to be your primary residence. Your primary residence is the place where you sleep most regularly and keep your belongings.


What if I’m a student?

Students who come from Michigan and attend a school in Michigan can register to vote at their school address or their home address. Students coming from Michigan who attend a school outside of Michigan can still register to vote at their home address in Michigan. Students who are not from Michigan but are attending school in Michigan can register to vote at their school address in Michigan. For questions about registering to vote in other states, check out the resources on voting in that state.

If you have a Michigan driver’s license or state ID card and you are registered to vote in Michigan, your voter registration address and the address on your ID will be the same. If you change the address on one, it will automatically change the other. The Secretary of State will mail you a sticker with your new address to place on your license or ID card. Once registered, you can change your address through Michigan’s online voter registration system.


What if I’m an international student?

While international students, like other non-U.S. citizens, cannot vote in U.S. elections, you can participate in other ways. Learn how.


If You Are a Registered Voter in Washtenaw County

If you are a registered voter in Washtenaw County, you should have received a Michigan 2020 Absentee Voting Application in the mail. If you filled it out, signed it, and mailed or delivered it to your city or township clerk, you can vote absentee in the November 2020 presidential election. Otherwise, you can apply online for a November absentee ballot.

Additionally, visit the Washtenaw County website if you want to get on the Permanent Absentee Voting List.


If You Are a Registered Voter in Michigan Outside Washtenaw County

If you are a registered voter in Michigan outside Washtenaw County, you should have received a Michigan 2020 Absentee Voting Application in the mail. If you filled it out, signed it, and mailed or delivered it to your city or township clerk, you can vote absentee in the November 2020 presidential election. Otherwise, you can apply online for a November absentee ballot.


If You Are a Voter Registered Outside Michigan

If you are a voter registered outside Michigan, you have the option of registering to vote here or staying with your previous registration. Register online as a Michigan voter (requires a valid Michigan driver’s license or state identification and knowledge of your Social Security Number).


If You Are Not Registered to Vote

If you are not registered to vote in Michigan, you can register online to vote (requires a valid Michigan driver’s license or state identification and knowledge of your Social Security Number).


If You Do Not Know Whether You Are Registered to Vote

If you do not know whether you are registered to vote in Michigan, you can check your Michigan voter registration status online.

Key Upcoming Dates


Absentee Ballots Now Available

Absentee ballots are now available at local clerks’ offices.

November 2, 2020

Absentee voter ballot may be requested at your township or city clerk’s office until 4:00 p.m.

Emergency absentee voter ballot requests may be submitted after 4:00 p.m.


November 3, 2020

Election Day

Emergency absentee voter ballot requests must be submitted by 4:00 p.m.

Polls close at 8:00 p.m. You have the right to cast your vote if you are in line by 8:00 p.m.

In-person voter registration must be completed by 8:00 p.m.

Absentee voter ballots must be received by your township or city clerk by 8:00 p.m.

Student Mental Health Resources


Information to Manage Election-Related Stress

Engaging with the democratic process can be meaningful, but it can also be exhausting with heightened emotion and stress. Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) has put together some thoughts and strategies for coping and practicing self-care.

Wolverine Support Network

The Wolverine Support Network is a student-led peer support program developed by Central Student Government leaders in collaboration with Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). 

Wellness Coaching

Focused on well-being and civic engagement during the 2020 election season, a Wellness Coaching group has been designed to provide a virtual space to dialogue about the stressors of the university and political climate, and to develop self-care skills and coping mechanisms in order to remain mindfully involved in civic engagement while attending to the other dimensions of our lives.

The Big Ten Voting Challenge

The University of Michigan has partnered with TurboVote and the Big Ten Voting Challenge. Through TurboVote, you can sign up to receive election reminders, get registered to vote, and apply for your absentee ballot. TurboVote is a tool outside of the University of Michigan computing environment; no student data is shared by the university in this process. Shape the issues that matter to you most.

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