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Empowering Voters. Defending Democracy    JOINDONATETAKE ACTION
LWV of Michigan Logo
Empowering Voters. Defending Democracy    JOINDONATETAKE ACTION

Voting Tips for College Students

Voting Tips for College Students

Voter registration and election participation rates among 18 to 24 years old are the lowest for any age group.

First time voters and college students often find themselves caught in the technicalities of Michigan election laws.

Below are a few tips for college students in Michigan to help guide you through.


You can register to vote in the State of Michigan if you are:

  1. 17.5 years old, provided you are 18 by the date of the next election (NOTE: On February 24, 2024, 16 year-olds will be allowed to “pre-register”)
  2. a U.S. citizen
  3. a resident of the State of Michigan
  4. you are not currently serving a sentence in jail or prison


Where to Register
If you are eligible to vote in Michigan, you must register where you maintain your principal residence in the state.  As a college student, you can register from your campus address or the address where you previously resided before moving to campus (provided that you still view your previous address as your “principal” residence in the state).

  • The Bottom Line
    MI will only keep one registration address so you have to choose whether home or school is going to be your “principal residence.”

How to Register
When eligible citizens who are not already registered to vote complete a driver’s license or personal identification card transaction, they will be automatically registered to vote unless they affirmatively decline. Registered voters will have their records updated if their address or other information has changed

Voters may register in person, by mail, or online up to 15 days prior to an election. Voters may also register in person with their local clerk within 14 days of an election, up to and including Election Day.  A voter registering in the final 14 days, including Election Day, will need to show proof of residency in addition to proof of identity (or an ID that proves both). A voter wishing to register on Election Day must do so with a city, township or county clerk, or a deputized staff member. These individuals are usually NOT at the polling location, so it is best if the voter goes directly to their city of township clerk’s office.

Other things you need to know
The law requires Michigan residents to use the same residential address for both voter registration and driver license purposes.  Therefore, if the address you submit on a voter registration application does not match the address on your driver license, the Department of State will mail you an address update sticker for your driver license.  (The address update sticker will be handed to you if you register to vote in a Secretary of State branch office.)  NOTE: Changes are coming to this law in 2024.

Regardless of the address you use for voter registration and driver license purposes, you can maintain a separate “mailing address” if you wish to receive mail pertaining to your voter registration and driver license at a different address.

You are free to change your voter registration/driver license address as frequently as needed.  No fees are assessed for address changes.

  • The Bottom Line
    Since MI only keeps one “principal address” on record for your driver’s license and your voter registration, if you change one, you’ll change them both.  You can tell where you’re expected to vote if your driver’s license is current.  NOTE:  Changes are coming to this law in 2024.

For more information, visit MichiganVoting.org.