The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, December 13, 2019

Relax, and register to vote from your recliner

By The Building Tradesman



Relax, and register to vote from your recliner

LANSING – Do you need to register to vote or update your voter registration information?

No, don't get up. Stay seated in your living room. Just grab your phone, tablet or laptop. No need to go to your local clerk's office or secretary of state branch any more. The voter registration process is now online.

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced the opening of the online registration portal on Cyber Monday, when people are usually using computers for buying stuff. “This fast, convenient, cost-effective and secure option to register to vote will enable many more people to participate in democracy, and help Michigan’s clerks maintain complete, accurate and up-to-date voter rolls,” Benson said. 

Go to www.Michigan.gov/VoterRegistration.

The secure, web-based online voter registration tool is available to citizens with a valid Michigan driver's license or state ID card. Michigan residents without these documents can learn more about how they can register to vote by visiting the site. All other methods of voter registration, including registration by mail, will remain available. Michigan also began implementing automatic voter registration in September as part of driver's license and state ID card transactions.

Residents who know they're not registered to vote at their current address can access the voter registration tool directly by visiting the same site. Users will then be asked to verify their eligibility and provide identifying information including their driver's license or state ID card number. After they verify their identity, users will have the opportunity to register to vote or update their voter registration if they are already registered. 

If residents are not sure whether they are registered to vote, they can visit Michigan.gov/Vote to find out. If they are not registered, the site provides a link to the online voter registration tool.
By implementing online voter registration, Michigan joins 37 other states that allow citizens to register to vote online. 

Legislation providing for online voter registration was enacted by the Michigan Legislature in 2018. Other states that have implemented online voter registration have seen several benefits, according to Benson's office:

*Cost savings: Online voter registrations replace paper applications, saving money on printing, mailing and processing time. 

*Increased accuracy: Online voter registrations are entered electronically and matched to data the state already has on file for applicants; this eliminates typos and other transcription errors, as well as missing information on voter registration forms.

*Updated voter rolls: By allowing a convenient method of updating voter registration, online voter registration will help keep the voter rolls up to date by facilitating more frequent voter updates throughout the year. 

*Convenience for voters: Online voter registration allows voter registration in real time from any web-connected device. Research in some states has found that young voters are particularly likely to take advantage of online voter registration.