Get Out the Vote

Core Principles:

  • Civic engagement is at the heart of what we do. United Way has been working to build stronger communities for more than 130 years and locally for over 67 years. We are committed to equipping and empowering our communities to participate in the democratic process and make their voices heard before, during and well after the election.
  • We stand united against division and hate. We know the outcome of the election will cause intense polarization and anxiety in our communities. We remain committed to our values of diversity, equity and inclusion, and our unequivocal opposition to division, hate and systemic racism. 
  • We work to bring the diverse aspects of our communities together. United Way is a nonpartisan organization focused on communities. Bridging divides and bringing our communities together to solve our most intractable problems is at the core of what we do at United Way. 
  • We focus on policy, not politics. Our public policy work is driven by our mission. We adjust our strategies based on Congress’ agenda, but good policy is good policy—regardless of who’s in charge. While our policy and impact priorities won’t change, we will adjust our tactics and messaging to the current political environment. 

Guidance on roles nonprofits can play: 

  1. Affirm confidence in the electoral system and equip people with election protection resources. Remind supporters that voting is safe, secure, and we can hold officials accountable. Encourage voters to use the Election Protection hotline and resources if they have any issues on Election Day: 
  2. Reassure our communities that ‘we are here’ regardless of the election results. 
  3. Prepare our communities for a scenario where the results on election day may be unclear. We may not get election results for a few days (maybe even a few weeks) because many states do not start counting mail-in ballots until after ballots close on Election Day.  
  4. Socialize nonviolent responses and peaceful protests in your messaging to promote civility and healing.  
  5. Hold on unrelated content, such as events, new impact initiatives or product launches, during the week of the election – and consider holding them in the immediate period following. All communications should be timely, relevant and consistent with your nonprofit's beliefs and actions.  
  6. Remember to avoid expressing or implying support for any candidate, as it could affect our 501(c)(3) status. 

From your local school board to the U.S. Senate, it’s important to vote in every election. United Way is working with When We All Vote, BET, National Urban League, and National Voter Registration Day to make sure every eligible person is registered to vote.

United Way has launched the United We Count, United We Vote campaign to help people be civically engaged and vote. Use this tool to register to vote.

There also may be important local issues on your ballot. Make sure your voice is heard! Help ensure you community’s needs are met!

Voting in Michigan has never been easier. You can register to vote by mail or online up to 15 days before an election. You can register in person up to or even on Election Day. You can also get an absentee ballot for any reason, allowing you to conveniently vote ahead of time. Click here to apply for an absentee ballot.

Check out these resources and share them with your family and friends. Most importantly, get out and vote!


  • Oct. 19: Deadline to register for the general election by mail or at the Secretary of State (NOTE: You can still register up to and on Election Day at your clerk’s office)
  • Oct. 30: Last day to request an absentee ballot by mail. Request must be received by 5 p.m.
  • Nov. 2: Last day to pick up an absentee ballot at your local clerk’s office by 4 p.m.
  • Nov. 3: General Election
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A Message from the Department

Dear Partner,

Preparing and educating voters on their options to register to vote, request an absentee ballot and return their ballot is important. As Election Day approaches, intentional outreach and messaging becomes even more critical.

The Michigan Department of State has produced a Make a Plan to Vote election toolkit with social media content, videos, flyers and a sample newsletter article. Use this toolkit to help provide trusted information about the Nov. 3, 2020 general election to the people and communities you serve. In addition, toolkits in  Arabic and Spanish are accessible on our Partners in Democracy  website. In coming days, we will have more toolkits available in different languages.   

Thanks for everything you’re doing to support our democracy!

Latest News

  • Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced that sororities and fraternities from campuses across the state of Michigan committed to recruit election workers for the Nov. 3 general election. The Greek organizations are competing in a challenge hosted by the Michigan Department of State to see which can recruit the most election workers ahead of the election. More information is available at
  • Secretary of State offices are offering priority appointments for customers needing first-time licenses/IDs, replacement licenses/IDs or corrections to their existing licenses/IDs. The priority appointments are available from 3 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. To make an appointment, visit or call 888-SOS-MICH (767-6424).

It's Time to Focus

  • Voter Registration: Register to vote through our online portal at or by paper application.
  • Voting by Mail: Voting by mail is an option for all voters! They have an opportunity to apply for an absent voter ballot application ONLINE or by paper application. The pandemic will not stop our elections!
  • Election Security: Michigan’s elections are among the most secure in the nation. We have many protections in place here in Michigan that safeguard the security and sanctity of the vote. Learn more
  • Michigan Voter Information Center: As you plan how you’ll vote this year, visit You can track your absent voter ballot, get the location of a ballot drop box and your polling place, see a sample ballot for your jurisdiction and much more.
  • Sign Up to Be a Poll Worker: Election workers are democracy’s Most Valuable Players. Democracy is a team sport and every Election Day thousands of Michigan citizens come together to assist voters and process ballots. Sign up to be a poll worker! 

Upcoming Deadlines and Important Dates

  • October 19, 2020: Last chance to register to vote online at or by mail (must be postmarked no later than this date). After this deadline, registration needs to occur in person at your clerk’s office.
  • October 30, 2020: Mailed absent voter applications must reach your clerk no later than 5 p.m. on this date. 
  • November, 2, 2020: The deadline to request an absent voter ballot in person. You must go to your clerk's office no later than 4 p.m. on this date. Find your clerk's office
  • November 3, 2020: Election Day! You can still register to vote in person at your clerk’s office (not at the polls) up until 8 p.m.

Voter Registration:

  • If you are completing a paper voter registration application, you MUST send it to your local clerk’s office to be processed.
  • Find out if you are registered here, then
  • Register online here, or
  • Download a voter registration application and get it to your clerk.

Voting From Home

To protect their health and their right to vote, voters are encouraged to participate in the election from home via an absentee ballot. On Election Day, all polling locations will be open for in-person voting and will be provided in accordance with social distancing and safety protocols.

Weekly Absentee Request Numbers

More than 2.5 million have requested absentee ballots, a 350% increase compared to 2016. A breakdown by jurisdiction is available here. 

How to Return Your Ballot

On September 24, Michigan clerks began mailing out absentee ballots. It is important for voters to be educated on their options for returning their ballots. You can find your clerk's office and the locations of drop boxes in your election jurisdiction at Remember, you cannot bring your ballot to a drop box in another city or township. Confirm you’re going to the right drop box by visiting or calling your clerk.

  • Drop Box: You can deliver your ballot at your local drop box. To find a list of drop boxes in your city go the Michigan Voter Information Center This list will change as clerks report drop box locations. There, you can track your absent voter ballot, get the location to your polling place as well as see a sample ballot for your jurisdiction and much more. Under Resources: Record and Post in this newsletter, there is a video script that will help you explain how to use the Michigan Voter Information Center. We highly recommend you record and push it out on your social media platforms.
  • Clerk office: You can always deliver your ballot to your clerk’s office. Find your clerk's office
  • Mail: If it is October 19 or earlier, you can mail it. After that, we recommend you don’t mail it, in case there are postal delays, and that you deliver it in person instead.

Early Voting

Voters can go into their clerk’s office, ask for their absentee ballot, vote and submit it in one trip!

Early Voting FAQs

Vote Early flyer you can share

Sign Up to Be a Poll Worker

Election workers are the Most Valuable Players of our democracy, ensuring free and fair elections for all. And right now, our democracy needs election workers more than ever! Serving as an election worker is a paid position, and all election workers are trained on proper protocols.

Help us Spread the Word on Social Media

Democracy MVP Varsity Challenge: Help us spread the word

  • Democracy MVP Varsity Challenge - An initiative to extend the Democracy MVP election work recruitment campaign to high school varsity athletes. The challenge pits varsity athletic teams across the state against each other in a competition to recruit the most poll workers for Nov. 3.
  • Democracy MVP Greek Battle Challenge - An opportunity for members of sororities and fraternities to participate in and serve their democracy! This fall, we are challenging Greek organizations in Michigan to recruit candidates to register as poll workers for the November general election

Ready for November Interview Series

Secretary Benson interviews Ottawa County Clerk Justin Roebuck, a member of Michigan’s Election Modernization Advisory Committee, in the fourth episode of Ready for November, a video series Benson’s office launched last month to inform voters ahead of the Nov. 3 general election.

Ready for November slide



Partners in Democracy

The Michigan Department of State announced the launch of its Partners in Democracy webpage to provide information on statewide and national organizations joining in the work of engaging voters within their communities, as well as information and resources for groups interested in voter engagement and turnout efforts ahead of the Nov. 3 general election. Learn more and become a partner.

Make a Plan to Vote election toolkit

The Michigan Department of State has produced a Make a Plan to Vote election toolkit that has social media content, videos, flyers and a sample newsletter article for use by your organization to help provide trusted information about the Nov. 3, 2020 general election and to encourage everyone to vote. The toolkit will be updated as needed on the MDOS website.

Record and Post: Election Education Scripts 

Efforts to confuse and misinform Michigan voters are escalating in volume and frequency as we head into the fall. As a result, it is more important than ever that voters receive official, trusted, reliable information from someone they trust. As a trusted voice in your community, it is important that your community hears this information from you! Below are pre-written scripts that have been approved by the Bureau of Elections. Record and post!  

Voter Information

Language Access

To better serve our Limited English Proficiency (LEP) voters, Secretary Benson launched the Language Access Task Force. The task force is made up of partners who serve the LEP community across Michigan. The task force Is currently focused on translating voter education tools in multiple languages. We will update you and provide you with those tools as they are completed. For more Information please contact Bilal Hammoud at

Voter Education Events: The following events are voter education presentations that are completely in the foreign language identified.  

Arabic Voter Empowerment: Yemeni Community
October 14, 6 p.m.

Mandarin Voter Education
October 15, 6 p.m.

Bengali Voter Education
October 16, 6 p.m.

Hispanic Voter Education event
October 21, 6 p.m.
(Link TBD)

Voter Documents:




Voting Matters Initiative

The Voting Matters Initiative seeks to engage potential voters from historically low-voter turnout regions and communities through Virtual Listening Sessions. The goal is to create an opportunity where non-voting citizens can ask questions and share comments with our office directly to help us identify the ways government can better serve communities. Click here for a list of upcoming VMI events in your community.