There is just over a month to go before Michigan’s primary elections on August 7th.
Michigan residents planning to vote in these elections have just four days left to register before the July 9th deadline.
Ruth Johnson is the Michigan Secretary of State. She spoke with Stateside’s Cynthia Canty to answer questions about voter registration.
To register to vote in Michigan, you must be a U.S. citizen, a resident of the state, and a resident of the city or township where you are registering. You must be 18 to vote, but if you are currently 17 and your birthday is before election day, you can still register.
Individuals can register in person at local clerks offices or Secretary of State branch locations, or through the mail. You can print an application to register online at mich.gov/vote, where you will also find the absentee voting applications.
Regardless of how you register, Johnson says you must show your face at least once before voting.
“If you do register by mail, you will have to show up at the election or one of our Secretary of State branches or your clerks office before you can vote,” Johnson said.
Johnson said 96 percent of all eligible voters in Michigan are registered to vote.
“Michigan was named number one by USA Today for getting eligible people registered to vote. We have a comprehensive program that we use, a stystem to try and make sure that everybody has a convenient way to get registered,” Johnson said.
That includes sending a postcard to every eighteen year old and bringing information to naturalization ceremonies for new citizens.
According to Johnson, Michigan will have all new voting equipment at every single precinct with top-notch cybersecurity. In preparation for these elections, the state has also cleaned up the Qualified Voter File. Johnson said they removed all registered voters who are deceased, had moved to other states, or were non-citizens.
“There was a problem when I came in — the fact that we had 102.54% of the eligible voters registered to vote,” Johnson said. “And I think the Pew Center on the States said that one out of every seven or eight registrations have serious flaws in them. I think that's a wake up call when you have people that were trying to get into the qualified voter files, allegedly the Russians.”
Listen above to hear the full conversation with Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson.
This post was written by Stateside production assistant Sophie Sherry.