Detroit’s ballot drop boxes and satellite voting centers opened Monday, Oct. 5, with 30 locations across the city.
Detroit voters who requested ballots by mail can return them to the drop boxes 24/7 until 8 p.m. on Nov. 3, when polls close. Voters can also register to vote at any of the city’s 23 satellite vote centers, where they can also receive their absentee ballots immediately and use them to vote in person.
Satellite voting centers include the Department of Elections, recreation centers and other sites. They are open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. until Election Day. (The one exception is the satellite voting site at Coleman A. Young Municipal Center, which is closed on weekends, according to the voter education initiative DetroitVotes2020.com)
On Nov. 3, satellite voting centers will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Each satellite voting center also has a 24/7 secure dropbox. There are seven additional sites with drop boxes only. See all 30 locations in the map below.
Detroit satellite voting centers and ballot drop boxes
How ballot drop boxes are secured
The city is advocating for the use of drop boxes and satellite voting centers as safe voting options that let you cast your ballot directly and avoid potential crowds on Election Day. Mail-in ballots remain an option.
Ballot drop boxes are secured according to guidance from the Bureau of Elections, Michigan Secretary of State spokeswoman Tracy Wimmer told Detour. Those stipulations include securely bolting or locking drop boxes to the ground or other stationary object; placing them in well-lit, public locations; and monitoring as necessary. All Detroit boxes have video surveillance.
Drop boxes must be emptied daily at a minimum.
“Only the clerk, deputy clerk or an authorized assistant of the clerk can empty drop boxes,” Wimmer wrote in an email. “Any other staff coming into contact with the ballots will be trained on maintaining chain of custody.”
In September, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced her office would partner with Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey to oversee the general election after absentee ballot counting discrepancies in the August primary. The state partnership includes additional staffing and training.
Early voting takes off in Michigan
Other clerks in Michigan have installed ballot drop boxes — check places outside of Detroit on the Michigan Secretary of State website. Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson told Bridge Michigan that there would be over 1,000 drop boxes in use across the state for the Nov. 3 election.
Michiganders are requesting record numbers of absentee ballots (more than 2.7 million as of Monday), and Detroit is also seeing a flood of requests. As of Sept. 28, nearly 115,000 Detroit voters had requested absentee ballots and more than 90,000 had been sent out, according to Benson’s office.
Key info and dates for voting in Detroit
Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 3. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Register to vote: Register to vote online by Oct. 19 or in-person Oct. 20 through Election Day with identification at your clerk’s office or a satellite voting location. Find more info about voter registration here.
Vote without an ID: You can vote in person without identification (bring it if you have one) and will have to sign an affidavit. If it’s your first time voting in Michigan, you may need to provide some documentation — more details on that process and your rights here.
Voting absentee: Anyone in Michigan can vote absentee, with no reason needed.
Request your absentee ballot: The nonpartisan collaborative MichiganVoting.org recommends requesting your ballot by Sept. 15, now past — do it ASAP here if you haven’t. You can also request an absentee ballot in person at your clerk’s office by 4 p.m. Nov. 2 and vote on the same visit. You can track your absentee ballot here.
Return your absentee ballot: You can return your ballot by mail, at your clerk’s office or in a drop box. The ACLU of Michigan recommends mailing your absentee ballot by Oct. 20 to be sure it arrives on time. You can drop it at a dropbox or at your clerk’s office any time on or before Nov. 3. Request your absentee ballot earlier if at all possible, or request it in person.
What’s on the ballot: Take a peek at what’s on your ballot.
Volunteer: Apply to be a poll worker.