Nov. 3 General Election FAQs

The Plainfield Township Clerk’s Office wants to ensure you have the information you need to vote in the Nov. 3 general election. That’s why the team has put together answers to a number of frequently asked questions.

1.     What day is the election?

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 3.

2.     Where is the Plainfield Township Clerk’s Office?

6161 Belmont Ave. NE Belmont, MI, 49306.

3.     How do I complete my voter registration online?

Visit the Michigan Voter Information Center website to register to vote and find out more information.

4.     How do I complete my voter registration by mail or in-person?

Residents are encouraged to register as soon as possible to avoid lines or delays. To register by mail, you can print fill out a voter registration application and send it to the Township Clerk’s Office. The application must be postmarked by Oct. 19 at the latest, according to the state.

You may register in-person up to 8 p.m. on Election Day at the Township Clerk’s Office. Proof of residency, such as a driver’s license, state ID, or utility bill is required. You can also register in-person through Oct. 19 at:

  • A Secretary of State branch office
  • The Kent County Clerk’s Office, which is located at 300 Monroe Avenue NW, Grand Rapids, MI, 49503
  • Any state agency, such as a Secretary of State branch, that provides public assistance or services to people with disabilities
  • Through a voter registration drive held at various locations in the community, but be sure to do your due diligence and affirm the drive is legitimate.

 To register for the November election between Oct. 20 through Nov. 3 (Election Day), you must visit the Township Clerk’s Office in person and show proof of residency. Registering online or through another method mentioned above will not qualify you for the Nov. 3 election in your new precinct.

To learn more about registering to vote in Michigan, watch this short video.

Note: Plainfield Township is observing safety protocols such as physical distancing and facial coverings at Township Hall.

5.     Where do I vote in person?

You can find your polling location by viewing the Township's map online or by visiting michigan.gov/vote and entering your name or driver’s license number. All precincts will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day.

Due to physical distancing guidelines and space limitations, there will be a reduced number of voting booths in all precincts. This will result in fewer voters being able to vote at a given time, which may lead to longer lines and wait times.

6.     What is the difference between an absentee application and absentee ballot?

All voters planning to cast absentee ballots must fill out an absentee application prior to any election, even if you are on the Township’s automatic application list. The application tells the Township Clerk’s Office you plan to cast your vote with an absentee ballot and want one mailed to you. Voters can sign up for the Township’s automatic application list to receive an application for an absentee ballot automatically in the mail leading up to any election. 

An absentee ballot is the official ballot voters use to cast their vote.

7.     How do I obtain and return an absentee application?

An application for an absentee ballot was mailed to every registered voter in Michigan in June. If you did not receive one or cannot find yours, you can:

  • Call the Township Clerk’s Office at 616.364.6588 and ask that an application be mailed to you.
  • Download an application to return by mail or in person to the Township Clerk’s Office. 

The postal service recommends voters send absentee ballot applications so they are received by the clerk’s office no later than Monday, Oct. 19 and preferably well before that time.

8.     How do I return my absentee ballot?

Voters should submit their ballots as early as possible. You can return an absentee ballot by mail, through the Township’s drop box located in front of Township Hall or at the Clerk’s Office at the front desk.

According to the U.S. Postal Service, while transit times for mail cannot be guaranteed, most mail takes two to five business days after it is received to be delivered. Absentee ballots must always be returned to Township Hall, never your precinct. The postal service recommends voters mail their completed ballots no later than Tuesday, Oct. 27.

For more information on the postal service’s election mail recommendations, click here.

9.     Do I need to pay for postage if I mail my absentee ballot?

Yes. Registered voters in Plainfield Township who send their absentee ballot back by mail are required to provide their own postage, using one standard stamp, as indicated in the top right corner of the green return envelope. You can avoid paying for postage by placing the ballot in the Township’s drop box located in front of Township Hall or by returning the ballot directly to the Clerk’s Office.

10.  How can I check the status of my absentee application and ballot?

You can check if your absentee application or ballot has been received by the clerk’s office by visiting michigan.gov/vote and entering your name or driver’s license number.

11.  What if I make a mistake on my absentee ballot?

Instructions are put in every ballot envelope that is sent out and should be read and followed carefully. If a mistake is made, you can bring it to the Clerk’s Office and be reissued a new one. A process known as spoiling the ballot.  Call the Clerk's office for more information on spoiling a ballot. 

12.  Why don’t I automatically get sent absentee ballots if I’m on the permanent list?

By law, an absentee application must be filled out before any registered voter receives an absentee ballot for any election. The Township sends absentee ballot applications to everyone on its permanent absentee voter list at least 45 days before every election. When you fill out and return your absentee application, a ballot will be issued and mailed to you as quickly as possible. Once you are on the permanent list, you will not be removed unless you request to be.

13.  Will the postal service forward my ballot to a temporary address?

No. The U.S. Postal Service will not forward your ballot even if you are having your mail forwarded to a temporary address. The ballot will be delivered to the address you used when registering to vote. If you have a forward on your mail, your ballot will be returned to the Township Clerk’s Office.

14.  What if I’m temporarily away from my home or have a P.O. box?

On your absentee ballot application, there is a spot to list a temporary address if you’d like to have your ballot sent to a different address than where you are registered.

Your absentee ballot will only be mailed to your P.O. box if that is where you normally receive all your mail.

15.  What if I’m overseas on Election Day?

You can fill out a federal postcard application, or FPCA, if you are currently living outside of the United States. This can be done online by visiting FVAP.gov and filling out the application. A ballot will be sent to you overseas.

16.  Can I pick up a ballot for my kids, spouse or parents?

No. You may only pick up your own ballot from the Clerk’s Office. The Clerk’s Office is not able to give out anyone else’s ballot, even with written or verbal permission. You will need to present a photo ID in order to be issued a ballot; otherwise, it will be mailed it to you.

17.  Is using a power of attorney to vote on my behalf acceptable?

No, a power of attorney is not acceptable. Everyone must sign their own absentee ballot and application.

18.  Do I have to be affiliated with a political party to vote?

No, you do not need to be affiliated with a political party to vote. The Township does not keep record of any political party affiliation. You may vote however you want.

19.  When are absentee ballots counted?

In Michigan, ballots are counted on Election Day regardless if they were cast in-person or absentee.

20.  What if I signed up to vote absentee, received a ballot, then decided I want to vote in-person instead?

If you receive an absentee ballot and do not return it, you will have to go to your precinct on Election Day and return the ballot before voting in-person. This is known as surrendering the ballot, If you do not have the ballot in your possession, you will have to sign an affidavit stating the ballot was lost or destroyed. An election inspector will contact the Clerk's Office to verify the ballot was not received. Surrendering the ballot and signing the affidavit are recorded so the absentee ballot cannot be counted. On Election Day, if you have already turned in your ballot and wish to vote in person, you will not be allowed to. 

Voting in-person or absentee is equally reliable. There is no evidence that either method is safer than the other. Absentee voting should not be used as a “back up” in case you decide not to vote in-person.

21.  Why am I receiving postcards and other mailings regarding my absentee ballot?

The Township Clerk’s Office only sends out official absentee applications and ballots upon request from a registered Township voter. No other additional election-related mailings come from the Township. These other mailings come from third-party organizations and sometimes can look similar to official materials. If you requested an absentee ballot by submitting an absentee application, you will only be sent this official absentee ballot from the Township.

22.  If I vote a straight ticket, do I have to fill out the entire ballot?
If you select to vote a straight party ticket, you do not need to fill out the rest of the front page of the ballot. Simply fill in the circle on your ballot for the party of your choosing. A straight party ticket allows voters in a general election to cast a vote for one party, across all positions. You will see this option in the first box on the front of the ballot under the “Partisan Section.”

Be sure to read both sides of the ballot as there are also non-partisan and proposal sections on the back. The straight ticket option does not apply to these sections. If you want to cast a vote for these sections, you will have to fill in the circles for those candidates or proposals.

23. Can I vote across party lines?

Yes. When voting in the November general election, voters can split their ticket, meaning they can vote for individual candidates of their choice under any party.

24. Do I have to fill out the entire ballot?

No, you do not have to vote for all positions or proposals.

25.  What are credible resources I can use to learn more about elections and voting?

Residents should visit the Michigan Voter Information Center, Kent County elections page or Plainfield Township website for credible information on elections and voting. Voting in-person or absentee is equally reliable. There is no evidence that either method is safer than the other. Absentee voting should not be used as a “back up” in case you decide not to vote in-person.

26. What is early voting?

In Michigan, early voting is simply another term for absentee voting. You cannot vote early at your precinct. The only time you can vote at your precinct is on Election Day.

27.  What if I have a question that is not answered here?

If you have additional questions please contact the Plainfield Township Clerk’s Office at 616.364.6588 or by email at elections@plainfieldmi.org.