Frequently Asked ELECTION Questions
Are you ready for Election Day? As you prepare for the upcoming election, check out the City Clerk’s office answers to frequently asked questions.
Where can I find credible information about the election? Voters can find comprehensive, accurate election information on the online Michigan Voter Information Center. There, you can:
- Check your voter registration
- View a sample ballot
- Track the status of your absentee ballot
- Locate your local clerk and ballot drop box
- Find your polling place and hours
- And more!
When will the polls be open? Polls will be open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day.
Where is my polling location? This depends on which ward and precinct you live in. You can find your polling location at kentwood.us/elections. If you’re unsure of your precinct or polling location, you can visit Michigan.gov/Vote.
Where can I find a sample ballot? You can find a sample ballot at Michigan.gov/Vote.
When will we learn election results? November 2020 General election results were delayed for multiple days due to historic voter turnout across the state. While we aim to share results in a timely fashion, counting ballots takes a considerable amount of time. For all elections, we suggest you visit Kent County’s election website, accesskent.com/departments/elections/results, for the most accurate up-to-date information.
Do I have to vote for every office listed on the ballot? No. You don’t need to vote the entire ballot for it to be counted. You can choose the races or ballot questions for which you want to vote.
If I mark my ballot for a straight party, will it void the ballot if I also select the candidates? No. You can do both. You also can "split" your ticket when voting in the November general election. That means you can vote for individual candidates of your choice under any party.
Do I need to sign my ballot exactly like my driver’s license? No. Clerks match your ballot signature to the most current signature the Michigan Secretary of State has on file.
Can I register to vote on Election Day? Yes. You can register on Election Day. However, we suggest you register to vote as soon as possible. If you want to register by mail, online or at the Secretary of State’s office, you must do so by April 19 for the May 2021 election. Once that deadline has passed, you need to register at Kentwood City Hall, 4900 Breton Ave. SE.
What COVID-19 safety measures and protocols will be in place? All voters and election workers are asked to wear masks while at their polling location and practice physical distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19. Election workers will have personal protective equipment on, and surfaces will be sanitized periodically. Read the “Recommendations for Healthy Voting in Michigan” for helpful tips for voting safely during COVID-19.
Why am I receiving postcards and other mailings regarding my absentee ballot? The Clerk’s office only sends out official absentee applications and ballots upon request from a registered voter. You can verify your ballot has been received at Michigan.gov/Vote. No other additional election-related mailings come from the City. These other mailings come from third-party organizations and sometimes can look similar to official materials.
How can I help spread accurate information about voting and the election? Reference information from reputable sources such as our website, kentwood.us/elections, and the Michigan Voter Information Center at Michigan.gov/Vote.
ABSENTEE / MAIL-IN VOTING
What is early voting? Michigan’s version of “early voting” is applying for and voting your absentee ballot. You cannot vote early at your precinct. The only time you can vote at your precinct is on Election Day.
Do you have a drop box for ballots? Yes. The City has two drop boxes you can drive up to and place your ballot in at any time for a convenient no-contact process at the following locations:
- 4900 Breton Ave. SE (in the median south of City Hall)
- 355 48th St. SE (outside the Kentwood Activities Center)
How can I return my absentee ballot? If you’re returning your signed absentee ballot by mail to the City Clerk's office, we recommend you put it in the mail by Monday, April 26 for the May 2021 election. You also can hand-deliver it to the Clerk’s office at Kentwood City Hall, 4900 Breton Ave. SE, during regular business hours or use one of the 24-hour drop boxes located outside City Hall and the Kentwood Activities Center, 355 48th St. SE. To track your absentee ballot, go to Michigan.gov/Vote.
When should I return my absentee ballot? Please return your ballot as soon as you are done making your choices. While ballots can be returned until 8 p.m. Election Day, there are several steps involved in processing the envelopes and keeping them secure, so returning them as soon as you’re finished helps staff make sure everything is ready to be counted.
How do I know my ballot has been received and will be counted? You can verify your ballot has been received at Michigan.gov/Vote. It may take a few days to be checked in at the Clerk’s office, so it may not show as received immediately. Once your ballot has been verified and received, it will be counted on Election Day. If there are any problems, the Clerk’s office will contact you.
I’ve made a mistake on my ballot. What do I do? If you think you have made a mistake, you can get another ballot. Please contact the Clerk’s office at 616.698.9610 for more information.
If I requested an absentee ballot and then decide not to send it in, will I still be allowed to vote at my precinct on Election Day? If you receive an absentee ballot and do not return it, you will have to surrender the ballot at the polls before voting. If you do not have the ballot in your possession, you will have to sign a legal affidavit stating the ballot was lost or destroyed. The election inspector will contact the Clerk's office to verify the ballot was not received. The ballot surrender and affidavit are recorded so the absentee ballot cannot be counted.
On Election Day, if you’ve already turned in an absentee ballot and want to vote in person, you won’t be allowed to do so.
HAVE OTHER QUESTIONS?
If you have other questions not included on this page, please feel free to explore comprehensive election information on the online Michigan Voter Information Center at Michigan.gov/Vote and our elections webpage: kentwood.us/elections.
The Michigan Secretary of State’s office has its own list of frequently asked election questions, which can be found here. Residents also may contact the Clerk’s office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 616.698.9610.