Registration information can be found on the voter Registration Information page.
As a student the State of Michigan allows you to register to vote at your permanent address (a parent's address, for example) or at your school address. However, you should know that registering to vote will change the address found on your driver's license. Likewise, if you change the address on your driver's license the address of your voter registration will be changed to match. Please take this into consideration when you are presented with an opportunity to fill out a voter registration form or when you go to the Secretary of State's Office to renew your license.
You've already taken the first step in being an informed voter, simply by visiting this page. Your age group was the second largest (61.65%!) to vote in the 2016 Presidential election within the City of Kalamazoo. That's surprising because everyone knows students don't vote, right? The downfall is all of the other elections, only 2.73% of student age population voted in the 2016 August Primary and 8.04% in the 2014 November Gubernatorial elections. Voting is simple, you just have to make a little time to get to the polls. So what do you need to know?
- Be registered!
- Know when to vote - polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- Know where to vote - your polling location is printed on your voter identification card or find it by visiting the Michigan Voter Information Center.
- Know how to get there - Visit the District and Precinct page for precinct maps and directions.
- Know how to vote - If you've completed a standardized test and we all know you have, then you know how to vote! For a little more confidence, click here to watch a short video on video How to Vote .
- Take a look at your ballot and know who and what you want to vote for before you go. There's much more than just the President on the ballot.
- And finally, tell your friends! If you live in the same complex, you vote in the same location (provided they are registered!), carpool, grab the same bus, whatever, let your student voice be heard!
Visit the Election Day Information page for more information.
Absentee Ballot Information
So you want to vote? But you're registered at home and not in Kalamazoo? No problem! You can request an absentee ballot from your home Clerk. Requesting an absentee ballot is as easy as 1, 2, 3... and 4 but that's it, we promise! If "home" isn't in Michigan, use the Long Distance Voter website to find the rules for your State. If "home" is in Michigan read on.
- Call your Clerk and ask for an application.
- Receive your application, complete it and send it back.
- Receive your ballot, vote it and send it back.
- Sleep-in on Election Day because you've already voted!
- Sounds easy enough? If only you knew who your Clerk was, right? You don't know what Township or City you live in either? What is a Clerk? Don't worry, we won't go into the specifics of what or who a Clerk is but we will tell you how to find that information. If you are registered in Michigan, your voter identification card will have your Clerk's information on it. For those of you that didn't realize you should keep that card... your solution is the Michigan Voter Information Center, which will provide you with everything from what township you live in, to who your Clerk is and how to contact him or her. If "home" is the City of Kalamazoo, visit the Absentee Ballot Information page for more information.
- Step 1's done, now what? You'll receive an application in the mail. The form looks complicated but don't let it intimidate you! There are two things you have to do. One is check a reason (most likely that will be "I expect to be absent from the community in which I am registered...") and two is sign! If your Clerk mailed the application to your school address, you are done, just mail it back. If it wasn't mailed to your school address and that's where you want the ballot mailed, be sure to write your school address in the "Send Election Ballot To:" box below your signature.
- This is the important part. Vote your ballot! You know those great Scantron type tests you take? The one's that make it easier for your professor to grade 200+ tests from one class? That's what the ballot is like. It makes it easier for election officials to tabulate thousands of votes too! Simply fill in the bubble or connect the arrow next to your candidates name. Make sure you only vote for the number of candidates allowed (it tells you that number on the ballot). After you've made all of your selections, put the ballot back in the secrecy sleeve, and into the return envelope. Seal the envelope and SIGN IT. The hard part will be finding a stamp and getting it to the mailbox. Isn't there just a way to vote online? Nope, can't make it too easy!
- Do we really have to tell you how to do that?
District & Precinct Information
A Kalamazoo address, does not always mean a Kalamazoo City resident. Check your voter ID card, you may be registered in Kalamazoo Township or Oshtemo Township!
More information can be found on the District & Precinct Information page.
Important voter deadlines can be found on the Election Calendar page.
There are multiple ways you can be involved in the elections. Our personal favorite is becoming a pollworker. If you're registered in Kalamazoo County, we need you! We even pay you! How great is that? You're performing valuable community service and civic duty and we'll pay you $135 for helping us out. Complete and print a pdf Pollworker Application and send it to us.
Student Political Organizations
|Western Michigan University||Kalamazoo College|
|Student Democrats||Student Democrats|
|Student Republicans||Student Republicans|
|Student Libertarian Party|
I'm attending college in Kalamazoo but my parent's residence is out of State, can I register here?
Yes! Michigan allows students to choose either their parent's residence or their college residence for voting purposes. If you'd prefer to vote for representatives that represent your school, register here. If you're more comfortable electing officials "back home" you can register there. The choice is yours!
I registered to vote by mail, can I still vote absentee?
Michigan law requires a voter to verify their identity prior to voting. If you registered by mail, you haven't verified your identity with anyone. In order to vote absentee, you'll need to pick the ballot up in person at your Clerk's office or re-register in person. Re-registering can be done at any of the voter registration locations found on the Registration Information page. Please note: Clerk's are required to be open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Saturday prior to the election. Call your Clerk to verify other office hours before you go.
There's power in numbers, right? So my one vote doesn't really matter if other students aren't voting, right?
Wrong! For all of those that think that way, the polls would be flooded on election day and votes would change ten-fold. Now that might not happen but here are a few recent examples where your one vote could have made a difference:
- In 1997, Vermont State representative Sydney Nixon was seated as an apparent one vote winner, 570 to 569. Mr Nixon resigned when the State House determined, after a recount, that he had actually lost to his opponent Robert Emond 572 to 571.
- In 1997, South Dakota Democrat John McIntyre led Republican Hal Wick 4,195 to 4,191 for the second seat in Legislative District 12 on election night. A subsequent recount showed Wick the winner at 4,192 to 4,191. The State Supreme Court however, ruled that one ballot counted for Wick was invalid due to an overvote. This left the race a tie. After hearing arguments from both sides, the State Legislature voted to seat wick 46 to 20.
- In 1994, Republican Randall Luthi and Independent Larry Call tied for a seat in the Wyoming House of Representatives from the Jackson Hole area with 1,941 votes each. A recount produced the same result. Mr. Luthi was finally declared the winner when, in a drawing before the State Canvassing Board, a ping pong ball bearing his name was pulled from the cowboy hat of Democratic Governor Mike Sullivan.
- In 1989, a Lansing, Michigan School District millage proposition failed when the final recount produced a tie vote 5,147 for, and 5,147 against. On the original vote count, votes against the proposition were ten more than those in favor. The result meant that the school district had to reduce its budget by $2.5 million.