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Posted on: October 5, 2020

Election FAQs

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Please know our City Clerk and election workers work tirelessly to ensure your voice is counted in every election. If you are interested in becoming an election worker please visit eastgr.org/elections

Staff asks that if you are certain about your vote, to turn in your ballot as soon as possible to avoid any backups on election day. If you are on the fence or may change your mind, we suggest you vote in-person on election day.

City staff is here and ready to help you. Our website is a great resource but we are also happy to help in person or over the phone. Stop by at 750 Lakeside Drive or give us a call at 616.949.2110 with any questions you have regarding your ballot or the election process. 

 

IN-PERSON VOTING & GENERAL QUESTIONS

When will polls be open?

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. We advise residents voting in person to vote sooner rather than later if possible. 

Where is my polling location?

This depends on which ward and precinct you live in. You can find your polling location at eastgr.org/elections. If you are unsure of your precinct, you can visit the Michigan Voter Information website

What are the City’s COVID-19 safety measures and protocols?

We ask all participants to wear a mask and practice physical distancing at all times while voting and to be prepared to sanitize your hands upon entering the polling location to ensure all the surfaces in the precinct remain clean. 

We are providing sneeze guards, masks and sanitizing products for each location to protect the workers who are providing assistance to the voters. Voting booths, pens and other surfaces will be sanitized periodically throughout the day. 

Where can I find a sample ballot?

You can find a sample ballot at eastgr.org/elections.

Can I register to vote on election day?

Yes, you can register on election day. However, to avoid long lines or potential complications, we advise all residents to register as soon as possible.  

If you would like to register to vote by mail, online or at the Secretary of State, you must do so by October. 19. Once this deadline has passed, you will need to register at City Hall.

What do I need to register to vote?

To register, you will need a valid ID or proof of address. Exact details and requirements can be found on the Michigan Secretary of State website.  

How can I help spread accurate information about voting/the election?

  • Only visit, read and follow reputable sources such as the City’s website and the Michigan Secretary of State.
  • Avoid sharing information from other states as not all rules/regulations/processes are the same across the U.S.
  • Verify information shared by anyone running for election before citing it as it may be skewed 

 When will we learn election results?

Unofficial results will most likely be available late on election day or on Wednesday, Nov. 4. However, exact results will be available in the weeks following the election.

While we aim to share EGR results in a timely fashion, counting ballots takes a considerable amount of time. We suggest you visit www.accesskent.com/Departments/Elections/Results/ for the most accurate information.


ABSENTEE VOTING

What’s the difference between “early voting” and “absentee voting”?

Michigan’s version of “early voting” is “absentee voting” where you request a ballot, vote, then seal the ballot in an envelope and return it to your clerk’s office for processing on election day. In Michigan, you cannot put your ballot through a tabulator prior to election day.

How can I obtain my absentee ballot?

  1. Fill out an application form online on the Secretary of State website. We will mail your ballot to the address you use when filling out your form.
  2. Submit a paper form by mail, email or fax to EGR Clerk’s Office, 750 Lakeside Drive SE, East Grand Rapids, MI 49506, elections@eastgr.org, 616.940.4884. We will mail your ballot to the address on the form.
  3. Visit our offices at City Hall. We’re open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can take your ballot home with you and return it later or vote here in our office and turn it back in for processing.

When should I return my absentee ballot?

Please return your ballot as soon as you are done making your choices. While you can technically wait until 8 p.m. on election day to return your ballot, there are several steps involved in processing the envelopes and keeping them secure, so returning them as soon as you’re finished helps staff make sure everything is ready to be counted on election day. Don’t leave it on the kitchen counter where it can get lost – return it to City Hall as soon as you’re done with it. 

How can I return my absentee ballot?

There are three ways you can submit your ballot: 

1. Mailing it to City Hall at 750 Lakeside Drive SE 

2. Depositing it in our safe and monitored drop box at City Hall

3. Visiting City Hall during business hours, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and handing it to one of our desk workers

Residents can call 616.949.2110 for assistance in dropping off their ballot during business hours. Read our news article on Submitting Your Absentee Ballot for more details.  

Where is EGR’s drop box located?

The City’s dropbox is centrally and conveniently located at City Hall at 750 Lakeside Dr. It is in an approximate one-mile radius from all EGR homes. 

 Please note that the front door of the Community Center is always open and the dropbox is located on the wall to the right a few steps inside the door within the vestibule across from the KDL book dropbox. If you reach a second set of doors, you have gone too far.

 Is the drop box located at City Hall safe?

This dropbox is extremely secure and safe and available to all residents 24 hours a day. It is monitored by video surveillance to ensure the integrity of the voting process and protect the ballots submitted. Additionally, it is weather and fireproof as well as ADA accessible.

When is my ballot counted?

Once received by the City, absentee ballots are kept sealed in their envelopes in a locked room until election day when they are opened by a team of election workers and fed into a tabulator to be counted.

What if I make a mistake on my ballot or change my mind about who I am voting for?

If you make a mistake, you can get another ballot. Just stop by City Hall and ask for another one. You can bring your spoiled ballot with you to turn in and fill out a form requesting a new ballot.

If you change your mind and want to vote in person, you can legally do so. However, before discarding your absentee ballot and voting in person, please consider the time and expense that go into providing absentee ballots to those who request them and potential side effects. We order one ballot per person, so hundreds of people using second ballots could cause shortages and delays by the close of polls on election day, and will lengthen your time in line at the polls as workers are required to verify that absentee ballots issued have not been turned in.

I am a college student whose address has changed due to COVID-19. What should I do?

If you were planning on being away at school and had to change your plans due to COVID-19, please contact the City at 616.949.2110 about the updated mailing address for your ballot. We’ve received many applications with college mailing addresses on them, but we know many schools have moved to online classes and may have closed residence halls in recent weeks and months.

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