GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Voters will head to the polls to vote in the general election on November 8.
With races to decide executive seats such as governor and attorney general, proposals for term limits, abortion and voting rights on the ballot, along with all of Michigan's congressional seats being up for grabs in newly drawn districts, the stakes are high in the 2022 election.
This year, Michigan residents will vote to elect the state’s governor, attorney general, secretary of state, U.S. House representatives, state House representatives, state senators, and local officials, and decide three statewide ballot measures, school bond and millage requests, and local proposals.
This guide covers everything you need to know before you cast your ballot this November including key races to watch, candidate information and full interviews, details on registering to vote and absentee ballot deadlines, and resources for finding your polling place and viewing your ballot.
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on November 8. You can look up your polling location on the Michigan Secretary of State's website.
Registering to vote:
If you aren’t registered to vote, it’s not too late. The deadline to register to vote and to be able to vote in upcoming elections is 15 days before the election if you are registering to vote online or by mail, but you can register to vote in person at your city or township clerk's office up until 8 p.m. on Election Day. You’ll need proof of residency and you’ll be able to vote while you are there.
There are several ways to request an absentee ballot. You can fill out a request form online through the Michigan Voter Information Center. You can also download an application from MVIC and mail it to your local clerk’s office or drop it off in person.
The deadline to request an absentee ballot be sent by mail is Nov. 4 – the Friday prior to Election Day.
You can request an absentee ballot in person until 4 p.m. the day before the election – November 7. Absentee ballots can be mailed to the clerk’s office, just make sure to mail it by Oct. 24 to ensure it arrives in time to be counted. Ballots can also be dropped off in person at your clerk’s office or at your jurisdiction’s drop box until 8 p.m. on Election Day. You can also look up what's on your ballot on the Michigan Voter Information Center.
Democratic incumbent Gretchen Whitmer is hoping to serve four more years as Michigan’s governor. She’s running against GOP nominee Tudor Dixon, a political newcomer.
Democrat Gretchen Whitmer was elected governor in 2018, previously serving as a state senator and a state representative. Running on a promise in 2018 to “Fix the Damn Roads,” Whitmer’s ambitions on just about every front were thrown into irrelevance when the coronavirus pandemic came to Michigan in March of 2020. Thanks to a federal infrastructure bill in 2021, of which Michigan received some $5 billion to improve roads and bridges, some of her infrastructure plans came to fruition, but the administration’s handling of nursing home patients during COVID-19 came under immediate and sustained fire. A plan to establish COVID-19 treatment units within long-term elder care facilities led to outcry and an auditor general’s report in early 2021 suggested the state had been undercounting deaths in nursing homes throughout the pandemic. But Whitmer’s most recent bi-partisan budget boasted the state’s largest ever investment in K-12 education and offered tuition-free community college and job training to people over 25 years old. She supports abortion rights and generated the lawsuit, which is still working its way through the courts, to overturn Michigan’s 1931 law restricting abortion. On the economy, Gov. Whitmer has homed in on reviving the state’s storied auto industry by creating 25,000 new auto jobs and bringing the first new auto plant to Detroit in nearly three decades. Learn more about Whitmer and where she stands on the issues by visiting her campaign website.
Watch FOX 17's full interview with Whitmer:
Republican Tudor Dixon, who received an endorsement from former President Donald Trump ahead of the primary election in August, is a former steel industry executive, conservative media talk show host and horror movie actress. Dixon emerged victorious in August from a crowded primary field, in which she was the only female GOP candidate on the ballot. A mother of four daughters, Dixon has said time and time again that education is her top priority, namely, giving parents more say over what happens inside the walls of their kid’s schools. She is also a proponent of using taxpayer dollars to fund education at charter, private and religious schools and has outlined a plan to provide vouchers for 25 hours of tutoring using leftover federal COVID relief funding. She often touts her experience as a business executive, having spent several years running a steel foundry in Muskegon that, at times, struggled to pay suppliers and faced lawsuits as a result. Dixon earned a key endorsement from former President Donald Trump mere days before the primary election in August and has closely aligned herself with high-profile names in Michigan politics like Betsy DeVos, who has donated to her campaign. She is pro-life and has voiced no support for exceptions in the cases of rape or incest, something Democratic campaign attack ads have honed in on relentlessly. Dixon has proposed a phasing out of the state’s personal income tax and cutting 40% of the state’s regulatory code to remove red tape for prospective business owners. Learn more about Dixon and where she stands on the issues by visiting her campaign website.
Watch FOX 17's full interview with Dixon:
Democratic incumbent Dana Nessel is facing off against Republican candidate Matt DePerno in the Michigan Attorney General race.
Democrat Dana Nessel is a former prosecutor and civil rights attorney. Upon her election in 2018, incumbent Dana Nessel became the first openly gay person to serve a state-elected position in Michigan. Nessel has been busy in her first term, leading investigations into abuse within the Catholic church, Larry Nassar, the Flint water crisis and, most recently, fighting to protect reproductive rights in Michigan. Nessel won key convictions against abuser Larry Nassar and an $800 million settlement with opioid manufacturers. She prosecuted robocalls and consumer scammers and played a key role in Michigan’s Clean Slate legislation to reform criminal expungements. But Nessel also failed to prosecute key members of the Snyder administration over their alleged roles in the Flint water crisis and hasn’t yet been able to shut down Enbridge’s Line 5 even after years of court battles. Learn more about Nessel and where she stands on the issues by visiting her campaign website.
Watch FOX 17's full interview with Nessel:
Matthew DePerno is an attorney from the Portage area. DePerno believes in a no-exceptions stance on abortion. DePerno is currently under investigation by a special prosecutor. DePerno is accused of breaking into a voting tabulator after the 2020 election in an apparent attempt to expose fraud. Learn more about DePerno and where he stands on the issues by visiting his campaign website.
Watch FOX 17's full interview with DePerno:
SECRETARY OF STATE:
Democratic incumbent Jocelyn Benson is running against Republican candidate Kristina Karamo in the race to be Michigan's Secretary of State.
With the 2020 election happening during some of the worst days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Democrat Jocelyn Benson spent much of her first term working to expand the ability to vote across the state. Benson expanded the ability for people to vote absentee by mailing an application to every Michigan voter. She also worked to make the Secretary of State Department more efficient by launching an appointment-based system, opening mobile and satellite offices and expanding online services. Benson is tasked with overseeing state elections and says she has no doubt that the 2020 vote was secure and accurate. Benson started her career by investigating undercover domestic terrorist cells following the Oklahoma City bombing. She served as dean of Wayne State University Law School and is one of the youngest women to be inducted into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame. Learn more about Benson and where she stands on the issues by visiting her campaign website.
Watch FOX 17's full interview with Benson:
Despite 250 audits showing Michigan’s elections were secure and accurate, Benson’s opponent is one of the country’s most vocal deniers of that.
Kristina Karamo says her main concern is election integrity. Karamo made a name for herself in the GOP after testifying in front of the Michigan Senate Oversight Committee after claiming she actually saw election fraud while serving as a poll worker in 2020. Though the committee found no evidence of wrongdoing, Karamo still has concerns. As secretary of state, Karamo says she’d like to see more poll challengers at precincts and says those poll challengers would need to be affiliated with a credentialed organization. Karamo also wants to put an equal focus on in-person and online Secretary of State services. She also plans to cut fees for businesses and people. Karamo has proposed making Election Day a federal holiday to make it easier for people to vote and to find election workers. Comments from the past have followed Karamo during her campaign. Remarks comparing abortion to “child sacrifice”, transgender people to “mentally ill adults playing dress up”, and living together before marriage as “normalized pedophilia” have some voters concerned. Karamo said her beliefs wouldn’t affect her work. Karamo serves as a professor at Wayne County Community College teaching public speaking and college orientation. She’s a former host of the conservative podcast “Right on 14th.” Learn more about Karamo and where she stands on the issues by visiting her campaign website.
Watch FOX 17's full interview with Karamo:
Proposal 1 focuses on term limits that could amend the Michigan State Constitution and require financial disclosures of top elected officials.
Proposal 1 is separated into two main parts: The first requires top state officials to disclose some financial information after 2023, things like income sources and assets of state lawmakers, the governor, the secretary of state, and the attorney general. The second deals with term limits for state legislators, replacing the current limits of six years in the House and eight years in the Senate from a 14-year total to a 12-year total in any combination of service in the House or Senate.
On your ballot, a 'yes' vote would apply a flat 12-year term limit to lawmakers in state office and require some financial disclosures of top officials. A 'no' vote retains the status quo on the term limits that Michigan has had in place for 30 years and does not require the financial disclosure of top elected officials for now.
Proposal 2 aims to expand voting rights and further secure elections.
It allows for 9-days of in-person early voting, and it would also expand access to military and overseas voters by giving them a grace period of 6 days as long as their ballot is postmarked by Election Day.
Right now, Michigan law says registered voters only need a photo ID or signed statement to prove their identity at the voting booth. Prop 2 includes that same provision.
Proposal 3 would enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution.
Prop 3 protects a person's right to make all decisions about pregnancy and reproductive care, including decisions regarding birth control.
It also forbids the prosecution of anyone assisting a woman with abortion and it invalidates Michigan's 1931 law that bans nearly all forms of the procedure.
The proposal does provide a little leeway, allowing the state to regulate abortions after fetal viability.
The only exception to that is if a mother's physical or mental health is in danger.
Following the reversal of Roe v. Wade, the organization Reproductive Freedom For All gathered a record-breaking 750,000 signatures in support of Prop 3.