Frequently Asked Questions About Elections

The Plainfield Township Clerk’s Office wants to ensure you have the information you need to vote in upcoming elections. That’s why the team has put together answers to frequently asked questions.

1. When are this year’s elections and what are they for?

Plainfield Township will hold two elections in 2021 to fill the vacant Michigan Senate seat for the 28th District.

The 28th Senate District includes the cities of Cedar Springs, Grandville, Rockford, Walker, Wyoming, and the townships of Algoma, Alpine, Byron, Cannon, Courtland, Grattan, Nelson, Oakfield, Plainfield, Solon, Sparta, Spencer, Tyrone and Vergennes in Kent County.

The primary to determine which candidates will represent their political parties in the 28th District election will be Aug. 3. The general election to select an individual to serve in this seat will be Nov. 2.

Township voters will consider a millage proposal to finance the construction of a new Community Center.

2. How can I check if I am registered to vote?

Visit the Michigan Voter Information Center website to check your voter registration.

3. How do I register to vote?

To register by mail, you can print and fill out a voter registration application and then send it to the Township Clerk’s Office, 6161 Belmont Ave. NE Belmont, MI, 49306. The application must be postmarked by July 19 for the August primary and Oct. 18 for the November general election.

After these dates, voter registration can only be completed in person at the Township Clerk’s Office until 8 p.m. on Election Day. Proof of residency, such as a driver’s license, state ID or utility bill, is required.

To learn more about registering to vote in Michigan, watch this short video.


4. Where do I vote in person?

You can find your polling location by viewing the Township's map online or by visiting michigan.gov/vote and entering your name or driver’s license number. All precincts are open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day.

5. What is the difference between an absentee application and absentee ballot?

All voters who plan to cast an absentee ballot must first fill out an absentee application prior to any election – even if they are on the Township’s automatic application list. The application tells the Township Clerk’s Office you want an absentee ballot mailed to you. Voters can sign up to receive an absentee ballot application automatically in the mail leading up to any election.

Note: Those who choose to vote absentee in this year’s elections will receive a dual absentee ballot application. This means absentee voters need to complete and submit only one application to receive ballots in the mail for the August and November elections.

6. How do I get and return an absentee application?


If you are not on the Township’s automatic application list, you can download the application and return it by mail to the Township Clerk’s Office, via the drive-up drop box located in front of Township Hall or in person at the Township Clerk’s Office. You may also call the Clerk’s Office at 616.364.6588 to request an application be mailed to you.

7. How do I return my absentee ballot?

You can return an absentee ballot by mail to the Township Clerk’s Office, via the drop box located in front of Township Hall or in person at the Township Clerk’s Office.

8. Do I need to pay for postage if I mail my absentee ballot?

Yes. Registered voters in Plainfield Township who send their completed absentee ballot by U.S. mail are required to provide their own postage, using one standard stamp, as indicated in the top right corner of the green return envelope. You can avoid paying for postage by placing the ballot in the Township’s drop box located in front of Township Hall or by dropping off the ballot at the Clerk’s Office.

9. How can I check the status of my absentee application and ballot?

You can check if your absentee application or ballot has been received by the Township Clerk’s Office by visiting michigan.gov/voteand entering your name or driver’s license number.

10. What if I make a mistake on my absentee ballot?

If you make a mistake on your absentee ballot, you can bring it to the Clerk’s Office and be reissued a new one – known as spoiling the ballot. Call the Clerk's office at 616.364.6588 for more information on spoiling a ballot. 

11. Why don’t I automatically get sent absentee ballots if I’m on the permanent list?

By law, an absentee application must be filled out before any registered voter receives an absentee ballot for any election. The Township sends absentee ballot applications to everyone on its permanent absentee voter list at least 45 days before every election. When you fill out and return your absentee application, a ballot is then issued and mailed to you as quickly as possible. Once you are on the permanent list, you will not be removed unless you request to be.


Note: Those who choose to vote absentee in this year’s elections will receive a dual absentee ballot application. This means absentee voters need to complete and submit only one application to receive ballots in the mail for the August and November elections.

12. Will the U.S. Postal Service forward my absentee ballot to a temporary address?

No. The U.S. Postal Service will not forward your absentee ballot even if you are having your mail forwarded to a temporary address. The ballot will be delivered to the address you used when registering to vote. If you have a forward on your mail, your ballot will be returned to the Township Clerk’s Office.

13.  What if I’m temporarily away from my home or have a P.O. box?

On your absentee ballot application, there is a spot to list a temporary address if you want your ballot sent to a different address than what is listed on your voter registration. Your absentee ballot will only be mailed to your P.O. box if that is where you normally receive all your mail.

14.  What if I’m out of the country on Election Day?

You can fill out a federal postcard application if you are temporarily living outside of the U.S. on Election Day. This can be done online by visiting FVAP.gov and filling out the application. A ballot will be sent to you.

15.  Can I pick up an absentee ballot for my spouse, parent or child?

No. You may pick up only your own absentee ballot from the Clerk’s Office. The Clerk’s Office is not able to give out anyone else’s ballot, even with written or verbal permission. You need to present a photo ID in order to be issued a ballot. Otherwise, it is mailed to you.

16.  Is using a power of attorney to vote on my behalf acceptable?

No. A power of attorney is not acceptable. Each voter must sign their own absentee application and ballot.

17.  Do I have to be affiliated with a political party to vote?

No. You do not need to be affiliated with a political party to vote.

18. When are absentee ballots counted?

In Michigan, ballots are counted on Election Day regardless if they were cast in-person or absentee.

19.  What if I signed up to vote absentee, received a ballot and then decided to vote in person instead?

If you receive an absentee ballot and do not return it, you will have to go to your precinct on Election Day and return the ballot before voting in person. This is known as surrendering the ballot. If you do not have the ballot in your possession, you will have to sign an affidavit stating the ballot was lost or destroyed. An election inspector will contact the Clerk's Office to verify the ballot was not received. Surrendering the ballot and signing the affidavit are recorded so the absentee ballot cannot be counted. On Election Day, if you have already turned in your ballot and wish to vote in person, you will not be allowed to do so. 

20. Is it safer to vote in person or absentee?


Voting in person or absentee is equally safe and reliable.

21. Why am I receiving postcards and other mailings regarding my absentee ballot?

The Township Clerk’s Office only sends out official absentee applications and ballots upon request from a registered Township voter. No other additional election-related mailings come from the Township. These other mailings come from third-party organizations and sometimes can look similar to official materials. If you requested an absentee ballot by submitting an absentee application, you will only be sent this official absentee ballot from the Township.

22. Do I have to fill out the entire ballot?

No. You do not have to vote for all positions or proposals for your ballot to count.

23.  What are credible resources I can use to learn more about elections and voting?

Residents should visit the Plainfield Township websiteMichigan Voter Information Center and Kent County elections page or for credible information on elections and voting.

24. What is early voting?

In Michigan, early voting is simply another term for absentee voting. You cannot vote early at your precinct. The only time you can vote at your precinct is on Election Day. All ballots are counted on Election Day.

25. If I choose to vote in person on Election Day, what times are precincts typically busier?

While the Township cannot make any guarantees, precincts in past years have been busier at 7 a.m., noon and 5:30 p.m.

26. What if I have a question that is not answered here?

If you have additional questions, please contact the Plainfield Township Clerk’s Office at 616.364.6588 or by email at elections@plainfieldmi.org.