Team Ferguson helping students with new easier ways to register to vote

Michigan has updated important voter registration rules for First District college students for November 2020.

Michigan College Students Have Choices Where to Vote

Michigan students who are citizens can vote at their campus address or from their hometown address. The option of voting at a campus address is available for not only Michigan students from other towns but also for out-of-state students. Michigan’s legal definition of “residency” for voting purpose is easy for college students to satisfy: it is “that place at which the person habitually sleeps and has a regular place of lodging.” See Michigan Compiled Law (MCL) 168.11(1).

When a MI resident’s voting address differs from a drivers license address, the Michigan Secretary of State (SOS) will send a change of address sticker to the person to be placed on her or his MI drivers license. Also, for persons with a MI drivers license, both registering to vote and obtaining an absentee ballot can be done online at subject to deadlines described below.

For many students, voting locally at his or her college town in Michigan is easier than requesting and mailing back an absentee ballot to a distant place. Whether voting from a campus address or a hometown, voting safely from one’s place of residence with an absentee ballot should be considered due to the COVID-19 pandemic

College Registration is required by Federal Education Law

Federal law requires Michigan universities to distribute voter registration forms to their students. See federal Higher Education Act (Section 487(a)(23)).

Registration on or before October 19th is easier

On or before Mon. Oct. 19, 2020, a person can register to vote or update a registration address without the need to appear in person at the local clerk’s office or SOS office or show any proof of residency. This means that on or before Mon. Oct. 19, 2020, in addition to a personal visit to the local clerk’s office, a person can register or update:

  1. online at the SOS website

  2. by mailing a signed paper form to the local clerk

  3. by delivering a signed paper form into the drop box of the local clerk

However, online registration is only available for persons holding a MI drivers license or ID card via the SOS website at If a student misses the Mon. Oct. 19, 2020 deadline, they can still register but must register in person at the clerk’s office (in most places, with an online website appointment or by phone to the local clerk, due to COVID) and must offer proof of residency. Proof of residency can include a rent or utility bill.

If a student is from another Michigan town, the student will need to disclose his or her Michigan driver’s license number (DLN), personal ID no. or the last 4 digits of his or her social security number (SSN) on the application. If a student is from another state, the student must disclose the last 4 digits of her or his SSN instead of the student’s DLN. Everyone registering to vote needs to have resided at the place of voting for 30 days or more prior to November 3rd.

For Example: At Northern Michigan University, if you sleep in Marquette, you can vote in Marquette. NMU is helping students register to vote ahead of the election by proving their local residency. Three steps: Generate document, register, and vote. If your ID matches the name on the doc, and you show up to the polls or the City Clerk on or before Oct. 19, you can vote in Marquette. READ MORE

If you live in Northern’s residence halls or on-campus apartments, you have one additional proof of residency step in the voter registration process than those who do not live on campus. 

When you go to the City Clerk’s office or polling precinct to register for voting, you will need to pres