When I moved back to Michigan last fall the item on the top of my to-do list that I was also most eager and excited to check off was going to the Secretary of State to get my new (old) license.

Fun fact: no matter how many times you move away and return, or how many driver's licenses you've had in other states, you will always receive your original Michigan driver's license number when you return.

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Upon visiting the Secretary of State they'll also ask if you are currently, or would like to become, a registered voter in the state of Michigan-- to which I undoubtedly replied, "Yes." However, due to scheduling conflicts this year, I chose to request an absentee ballot for the 2022 General Election, which is happening Tuesday, November 8.

Across social media, I kept seeing all my friends receive their absentee ballots in the mail but I had not received one myself. I was starting to get worried! Here's what you need to know if you requested an absentee ballot this year:

Deadline to Apply

If you are a registered voter in Michigan and decide you want to vote absentee at Michigan last minute, you have until the Friday before the election to make requests online and through the mail. That date is Friday, November 4 at 5:00 p.m., but you may also request an absentee ballot in-person at your local county clerk's office until 4:00 p.m. the day before the election, Monday, November 3. Otherwise, you will just need to vote in person on Election Day.

Note: It is recommended that you request your absentee ballot at least two weeks prior to election day to avoid any delays. That date is Monday, October 24.

Where's My Ballot?

The State of Michigan has seen a record number of absentee ballot requests this year, so that may explain the delays in receiving your ballot by mail. The mailing of ballots officially began September 29, 2022 however, if you fear you've missed your ballot being delivered you can track the status of it through the mi.gov/vote website here.

Having never voted absentee before I was worried I filled out the form wrong, but through the mi.gov/vote website, I was able to confirm that my request had been received and the date my ballot was sent out, which calmed my nerves! I received my ballot in the mail several days later.

What If I Never Receive It?

You can always call your city or township clerk’s office to check the status of your ballot, or cancel your original request and make a new one. If Election Day arrives and you still haven't received your ballot you will need to vote in person at your local polling place. Poll officials will have you fill out a form confirming you never received your absentee ballot and then you may cast your vote in person.

Where Do I Return My Ballot?

You can return your completed and signed ballot by mail or in person. To avoid delays by mail and to ensure your ballot counts, make sure you mail it at least two weeks before Election Day-- on or before Tuesday, October 25.

If you plan to return your ballot in person, you may hand deliver it to your local clerk's office or drop-box the day of the election. Whichever method you choose, your ballot must be received by the time the polls close at 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 4. Find your local clerk's office here.

Don't Call Yourself A Yooper Unless You've Been To These Michigan Upper Peninsula Places

It can almost be looked at as a different state entirely, while encompassing everything beautiful about Michigan. There are some spots that are truly breathtaking, and if you've never planned a trip to the upper peninsula, make sure you're comfortable with long drives.

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