Student Voter Guide for Michigans’s 2020 Presidential Primary Election

This guide will help you participate in Michigan’s March 10 presidential primary, in which you can help choose America’s presidential nominees. Voter registration in Michigan is nonpartisan; you do not select a political party. You select the ballot for a specific political party when you vote in the Michigan presidential primary. The Democratic Party and the Republican Party have agreed to participate.

Dates and Deadlines

  • Primary election date: March 10, 2020, 7 AM to 8 PM 
  • Registration deadline by mail and online: February 24 
  • Registration deadline in person: March 10 (including Election Day)
  • Early voting begins, when absentee ballots become available: January 25
  • Deadline to receive mail requests for an absentee ballot application: March 6 at 5 PM
  • Deadline for in-person absentee ballot requests: March 9 at 4 PM
  • Deadline for your absentee ballot to be received in your clerk’s office: March 10 at 8 PM

Why this primary matters

You have a chance to determine the presidential nominees for one of the two major political parties, a week after Super Tuesday. Democratic Party delegates (125 pledged; 22 super) are allotted proportionately to all candidates who surpass a 15% minimum, while the 73 Republican Party delegates are allotted to candidates who surpass a 20% minimum (Winner Take All when a candidate exceeds 50%).

Candidate information

For Republican and Democratic presidential candidate websites, CNN has a complete list. Politico also has a quick guide to Democratic candidate positions.


You are eligible to vote if you are:

  • A resident of Michigan and the city or township where you are applying to register for at least 30 days before Election Day.
  • A U.S. citizen
  • At least 18 years old by Election Day
  • Not serving a sentence in a jail or prison

How to register to vote

You can register by obtaining a paper application online or at your local clerk’s office, or by registering online. See this step-by-step guide. You can also register in person at your clerk’s office (within 14 days before the election, you must register in person).

ID Requirements for registering

  • To register by mail, you will need to supply your driver’s license number or state ID card number, or the last four digits of your Social Security number.
  • To register online, you will need to supply your driver’s license number or state ID card number, and the last four digits of your SSN.
  • To register in person, you will need your driver’s license number or state ID card number, or the last four digits of your SSN. In the 14 days before the election, you’ll also need proof of residency: a copy of a paycheck stub, utility bill, bank document, or government document that lists both your name and address, including an online tuition bill.

ID Requirements for voting

  • To vote, you must bring an acceptable form of ID to the polls, or sign an affidavit stating that you are not in possession of photo ID. Acceptable forms include:A Michigan driver’s license or state ID card

Or, as long as it is current:

  • A driver’s license or state ID issued by another state
  • A federal or state-issued photo ID
  • A student ID with a photo
  • A U.S. passport
  • A military or tribal ID with a photo

See the Guide to Voter ID for more information.

Absentee voting

In Michigan, if you’re a registered voter, you can request an absentee ballot without providing a reason. You can request an absentee ballot by submitting an application (printable and fillable) at your local clerk’s office, either by hand, via postal mail, fax, or email, as long as a signature is visible. See the Absentee Voting page for more information, including instructions for requesting an emergency absentee ballot.

Address to use for registering and voting

Per federal election law, college students can register and vote at either their campus address or their permanent home address, which may be out of state. However, voters can only be registered at one address. If you are not going to physically be in the state where you plan to vote, you will need to request an absentee ballot.

It’s your choice where to register. Registering at your campus address will not:

  • Affect your federal financial aid
  • Prevent your parents from claiming you as a dependent on their taxes
  • Cost you any scholarships, unless they’re tied to specific residency requirements
  • Affect your tuition status as an in-state or out-of-state student.

Key Resources