Am I eligible?
To receive an absentee ballot one of the following must be true:
- You must be 60 years of age or older
- Expect to be absent from the community in which you are registered for the entire time the polls are open on election day
- Be physically unable to attend the polls without assistance from another
- Unable to attend the polls because of the tenets of your religion.
- Confined to jail awaiting arraignment or trial
- Appointed an election inspector in a precinct other than the precinct where you reside
Requesting a ballot
Ballots may also be picked up by the voter in person at the City Clerk's office in Room 104 of City Hall at 241 W South Street.Ballots cannot be given to anyone other than the voter. Voters will be asked to present a valid photo ID when obtaining an absentee ballot in person at the Clerk's office. Anyone who does not have an acceptable form of photo ID or did not bring it with them can still vote. They will be required to sign a brief affidavit stating that they are not in possession of photo ID. Their ballot will be included with all others and counted on Election Day.
If you are not a City of Kalamazoo resident, please contact your local clerk for an absentee ballot. Remember a Kalamazoo address does not always indicate a City of Kalamazoo residence. Your voter identification card will list the jurisdiction of residence and contact information. If your jurisdiction is within Kalamazoo County, use the Kalamazoo County Officials Directory for contact information.
An absentee ballot may be requested 75 days prior to an election. Ballots may be requested by mail up until 2 p.m. on the Saturday prior to an election. Please note, that is rarely enough time to complete the process. Request your ballot as soon as possible.
The last day to obtain an absentee ballot in the office is the Monday prior by 4 p.m. The ballot must be voted in the office and returned. All ballots must be returned by 8 p.m. on Election Day to be counted.
Absentee ballot deadlines for scheduled elections are available on the Elections Calendar.
Completing the ballot
Inside the ballot envelope you will find the ballot and two envelopes. Vote by completely filling in the oval to the right of the candidate's name on the ballot. Be sure to vote for only the number of candidates listed in the heading for each office (certain offices allow more than one candidate to be nominated), and make sure to complete both sides of the ballot.
When you are finished voting make sure the ballot stub is shown, refold the ballot, and place it in the gray secrecy envelope. Place the secrecy envelope into the manila envelope and seal it. Be sure to sign the red box on the front of the manila envelope. Ballots that are not signed will not be counted.
Ballots may be returned by the postal mail or dropped off at the City Clerk's Office by the voter, an immediate family member, a person residing in the same household, or an assistant of the Clerk. Ballots must be returned by 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.
Permanent absentee list
Military or overseas citizens
The State of Michigan allows military and overseas citizens to vote using their last known registered address. Members of the military may contact their commanding officer and receive a Federal Post Card Registration and Absentee Ballot Application (FPCA). If you are a citizen overseas assistance is available from the Federal Voting Assistance Program.
Absentee Statistics will be posted after ballots have been mailed.
I registered to vote using the mail-in form, can I vote absentee?
Under Michigan State election law you cannot vote your first election as a Michigan resident by absentee ballot if you used the mail-in form to register to vote and are under the age of 60. You must vote in person the first time you vote. Meaning you must vote at the polls on election day or obtain your absentee ballot in person at the City Clerk's office. After voting in person you may receive an absentee ballot by mail for future elections.
Can an absentee ballot be sent to a Post Office Box?
We can mail your absentee ballot to your Post Office Box, if the post office box is where you would normally receive your personal mail and you do not receive mail at your registration address. Your registration address is still necessary to complete the application.
I made a mistake on my absentee ballot, can I receive another absentee ballot?
If you spoil your ballot in any way, you can receive another absentee ballot. If there is plenty of time before the election. Simply return the ballot in the envelope provided. Instead of signing the envelope, write "SPOILED" in the signature box. Upon receipt, a new ballot will be issued. If time is running short, please call office at 269-337-8793 for further instruction.
Can you cast an absentee ballot on election day?
Normally you cannot vote an absentee ballot on election day. However, if an emergency has occurred, such as you have been hospitalized on election day, or sickness or death has occurred in your family which will not allow you to go to the polls, you may receive an emergency absentee ballot. You will need to contact our office if this has occurred.
Can I drop off my absentee ballot at my voting precinct?
No, you cannot drop off your absentee ballot at your voting precinct. You must bring your absentee ballot to the City Clerk's Office.
Can I vote at my voting precinct after I have voted an absentee ballot?
Only if you have not turned in your absentee ballot! To do so, you must take your absentee ballot to your voting precinct. The pollworker will then void your ballot, and allow you to vote in a normal manner.
I've recently moved from another State and am ineligible to vote in Michigan. Can I still vote?
It depends on the State but most will allow you to vote one last time if your move was within 60 days of the election. To verify this information with the State you formerly lived in, visit the Can I Vote? website by the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) for contact information.
I've heard absentee ballots are only counted if the election is close, is that true?
No, all absentee ballots returned by 8 p.m. on Election Day are counted!
I'm a military and/or overseas resident, I've requested a ballot but am afraid there won't be time to receive it, vote it and have it back by Election Day. What can I do?
You should contact your commanding officer or US Consulate and vote a Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB). This form allows the voter to write the candidate of his or her choice for any office or ballot initiative they would see on the official ballot. A military or overseas voter using the FWAB may write-in votes for any federal, state or local office, or proposal on the ballot.