Early voting? Mail-in voting? A look at 2020 election terms

Voters in Farmington and Farmington Hills will go to the polls November 3 and can cast their ballots right now.

Early voting in Michigan, though, isn’t the same as in other parts of the country. Also, Michigan voters have some ballot options that other states don’t. Here’s a list of terms you should know:

Maria Taylor Johnna Balk David Delind for Farmington city council

Early voting

Early voting is Michigan is the same as absent or mail-in voting. Whether you mail or drop off your ballot, or vote in a booth at City Hall, your ballot will not be processed until Election Day.

Absent voter ballot

Since 2018, voters in Michigan have been able to request an absent voter ballot without declaring a reason. You can request and cast an absent voter ballot right up until Election Day. Here’s more information: ABSENT VOTER BALLOT DEADLINES APPROACH.

Mail-in ballot

This is another name for an absent voter ballot. While you can mail in your ballot, it likely will not be counted if it does not arrive at your Clerk’s office by Election Day. (Read more about a current lawsuit over late-arriving ballots.) Farmington and Farmington Hills city clerks have urged voters to drop off ballots in person. Check our Election Essentials page for drop box locations Farmington and Farmington Hills City Halls.

Straight party voting

Michigan is one of only six states that allow voters to choose a Straight Party Ticket. To vote only for candidates of one political party, click the box atop the Partisan Section. This does not affect the Nonpartisan and Proposals portions of your ballot; you must vote those separately.

Michigan Straight Party

Split ticket voting

Voters may vote “split ticket” by checking a Straight Party box but choosing candidates of other parties for specific offices.

Mixed ticket voting 

To choose every partisan candidate separately, ignore the Straight Party option and choose candidates of any party, no party, or write-in candidates.

However you vote, be sure to:

  • completely fill in boxes on your ballot.
  • use only a black or blue ink pen. (Pens are provided at your polling place.)
  • vote only for the number of candidates listed for each office.
  • check both sides of your ballot.

View sample Farmington Hills ballots.

View a sample Farmington ballot.


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