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5 Election Day Rules

Find out what not to do at the polls, what you need to bring and how to fill out your ballot.

1. No photos at polls

The use of video cameras, still cameras and other recording devices is prohibited in the polls when they are open for voting. This ban includes still cameras and other recording features built into many cell phones and applies to all voters, challengers, poll watchers and election workers.

Certain exceptions are made for credentialed members of the news media. 

2. Do not expose your ballot

Under Michigan election law, a ballot is rejected if deliberately exposed. A voter who deliberately exposes their ballot will not be allowed to vote in that election.

3. No displaying election materials at the polls

This includes clothing and buttons as well as material such as pamphlets, fliers and stickers. You may not display such items in the polling place or within 100 feet of an entrance to a polling place. If a voter goes to the polls with a T-shirt or button bearing campaign-related images or slogans, he or she will be asked to cover or remove it.

4. Bring a photo ID

You will be asked for a photo identification when you enter the polls. If you do not have a photo ID, you will be asked to sign an affidavit attesting to your identity, and then you can vote.

5. Not necessary to vote entire ballot

You are not required to vote the entire ballot. Skipping sections of the ballot does not invalidate your ballot.

  • Voting a straight party ticket: If you vote straight party, there is no need to vote again for any individual candidate in the party column. However, if you do vote straight party and then vote for an individual candidate in that same party, it will not invalidate your vote for that candidate. 
  • Split-ticket voting: You may "split" your ticket, which means you may vote for candidates of different parties. Voters must be careful not to vote for more candidates than are allowed in specific races. 

This information is courtesy of Michigan's Secretary of State Ruth Johnson.

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