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What to know before you go to the polls in Detroit

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Make a plan to vote! If you’re voting on Election Day, get your transportation in order, find your polling place by looking it up here and learn more about what you will find at the polls.

If you aren’t voting from home and can’t drive to the polls, you can use public transportation like SMART and DDOT buses to get to the polls. To find the quickest route to your polling location or a ballot drop box, use the Transit app.

Who will be at the polling place? 

Election workers, also known as poll workers, are available to assist you and answer any questions at the polls. If you make a mistake on your ballot or the tabulator machine isn’t working, an election worker should be able to help.

Poll watchers are people who wish to observe the election process, but they are not allowed to approach voters at the polls. Poll challengers are appointed by a political party or a qualified interest group to observe the election process and may challenge the actions of election workers or the eligibility of a person to vote. However, they are not allowed to directly approach voters and can only challenge through election workers.

Challengers aren’t allowed to take any pictures in the polling location. They must have an official identification card from the party or organization that they represent, and they can be expelled from a polling place if election workers deem them “disorderly.”

How straight ticket voting works (don’t forget the nonpartisan section!)

There are three sections of the ballot: partisan, nonpartisan and proposals.

During the general election, straight ticket voting is available for the partisan section since the candidates are already narrowed down for each party.

You can select a political party to automatically vote for the candidates of that party in each of the partisan races. You can only select one party: Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, U.S. Taxpayers, Working Class, Green or Natural Law. Or, you can make your selections individually for each race in that section.

You will still need to make individual selections even if you choose to vote a straight party ticket for the nonpartisan section and proposal section of your ballot.

Some races, like for a school board, allow you to cast a vote for more than one candidate. When that is the case, your ballot will say that at the top of that section.

Accommodations and voting assistance 

Federal law requires polling places be accessible to voters with disabilities. Voters can call the Department of Elections at 313-876-0190 to check if their assigned polling location is accessible.

Poll workers are obligated to provide whatever assistance is needed to facilitate the

voting process for voters with disabilities, according to the law. The City of Detroit has hired disability activists in the past to train and sensitize poll workers to better serve voters with disabilities.

Report problems or concerns

If you have a problem voting, tell a poll worker. If the poll worker is the person causing the issue or cannot solve it, call the election protection hotline at 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683). The hotline is also available for Spanish-speakers at 888-VE-Y-VOTA (888-839-8682) and for Arabic-speakers at 844-YALLA-US (844-925-5287) and for Bengali, Cantonese, Hindi, Korean, Mandarin, Tagalog, Urdu, Vietnamese or English: 888-API-VOTE (888-274-8683).

Read the rest of the Detroit Documenters Voters Guide and look up any unfamiliar terms in our vote with confidence glossary. Still have questions about voting in Detroit? Email us at documenters@outliermedia.org

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