The beta version of our new website is now available. Switch to beta – you can come back to our original site at any time.

News and analysis from The Center for Michigan •
©2017 Bridge Michigan. All Rights Reserved. • Join us online at

Original article URL:

Public sector

Voting without an ID? Not a big problem in most of Michigan

Editor’s note: This story has been edited to reflect action on this legislation that occurred after publication.

The Michigan House last week approved a bill that would make it more difficult to vote without photo identification.

(The Senate dropped the bill this week and Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof said it will not be considered during the balance of the current lame-duck session.)

Proponents say the measure, which requires voters to present identification at the ballot or vote but return within 10 days with proper ID, is necessary to “maintain the integrity” of elections.

Sounds like Michigan has a serious problem, no?

More than 4.87 million people voted Nov. 8 in Michigan. Just over 18,000 showed up at the polls without an ID. They voted after signing an affidavit that they were who they claimed to be. That’s one in every 265 voters, or 0.27 percent. If you exclude Wayne County, it’s one every 365 voters. In Detroit, however, one in 43 voters, or 2.3 percent of all city voters, showed up without identfication.

Critics say the measure unfairly targets minority voters, who typically have voted for Democrats; the bill has wide support among Republicans. A new study by University of California at San Diego researchers concludes that black voter turnout falls by nearly 13 percentage points in states with strict photo-ID laws and that Democratic turnout drops nearly 8 percentage points compared to a 4.6 point drop for Republican voters.

The Rev. Dr. Wendelll Anthony, president of the Detroit chapter of the NAACP, condemned the bills and called for a Lansing protest on Dec. 13.

Other studies, including one from the U.S. Government Accountability Office have said there is no impact on turnout by race.

By far, the voters most likely not to have ID lived in counties and cities with larger minority populations: 30 percent of all voters statewide without ID voted in Detroit; 39 percent were in Wayne County (which comprises just 17 percent of all active registered voters in the state).

Indeed, in those counties where ID-less voters were greatest tended to support the candidacy of Democrat Hillary Clinton over Republican and now-president-elect Donald Trump.

Click on the counties to see how many voters in each didn’t have ID and how that county voted Nov. 8. Below the map is a list of each city and township were statistics were available.

Without ID, by community

You can use this database to see all those cities and townships where at least 10 voters did not have an ID on Nov. 8, 2016. Detroit by far had the most voters who did not have a photo ID.

City/Township County Voters
without ID
Detroit Wayne 5,834
Grand Rapids Kent 535
Southfield Oakland 463
Waterford Township Oakland 300
Pontiac Oakland 260
Kalamazoo Kalamazoo 246
Lansing Ingham 242
Flint Genesee 228
East Lansing Ingham 210
Eastpointe Macomb 204
Roseville Macomb 203
Ann Arbor Washtenaw 188
Dearborn Wayne 184
Farmington Hills Oakland 135
Redford Township Wayne 133
Saginaw Saginaw 127
Romulus Wayne 122
Warren Macomb 121
Muskegon Muskegon 117
Kentwood Kent 116
River Rouge Wayne 116
Rochester Hills Oakland 107
Port Huron St. Clair 105
Oak Park Oakland 92
Harper Woods Wayne 91
Benton Harbor Berrien 90
Clinton Township Macomb 90
Battle Creek Calhoun 83
Sterling Heights Macomb 83
Grosse Pointe Woods Wayne 81
Wyoming Kent 80
Royal Oak Oakland 80
Wyandotte Wayne 80
Oxford Township Oakland 79
Portage Kalamazoo 78
Shelby Township Macomb 70
Lincoln Park Wayne 66
Ypsilanti Township Washtenaw 65
St Clair Shores Macomb 64
Holland Ottawa 60
Novi Oakland 59
Bedford Township Monroe 57
Georgetown Township Ottawa 57
Muskegon Heights Muskegon 55
Jackson Jackson 53
Birmingham Oakland 53
Egelston Township Muskegon 50
Muskegon Township Muskegon 50
Madison Heights Oakland 50
Delhi Township Ingham 49
Plainfield Township Kent 47
Macomb Township Macomb 47
White Lake Township Oakland 47
Allen Park Wayne 46
Burton Genesee 44
East Grand Rapids Kent 44
Ypsilanti Washtenaw 44
Plymouth Township Wayne 44
Mount Morris Township Genesee 43
Summit Township Jackson 41
Brownstown Township Wayne 41
Highland Park Wayne 41
Saginaw Township Saginaw 40
Pittsfield Township Washtenaw 40
Canton Township Wayne 40
Mundy Township Genesee 39
Norton Shores Muskegon 39
Kalamazoo Township Kalamazoo 38
Orion Township Oakland 37
Escanaba Delta 36
Walker Kent 36
Holland Township Ottawa 36
Traverse City Grand Traverse 35
Ada Township Kent 35
Frenchtown Township Monroe 35
Northville Township Wayne 35
Grand Rapids Township Kent 34
Independence Township Oakland 34
Taylor Wayne 34
Wayne Wayne 34
Bath Township Clinton 33
Leoni Township Jackson 33
Holly Township Oakland 32
St Joseph Township Berrien 31
Auburn Hills Oakland 31
Flushing Township Genesee 30
Chesterfield Township Macomb 30
Adrian Lenawee 29
Brighton Township Livingston 29
Berkley Oakland 29
West Bloomfield Township Oakland 29
Wixom Oakland 29
Bridgeport Township Saginaw 29
Buena Vista Township Saginaw 29
Brandon Township Oakland 28
Westland Wayne 28
Delta Township Eaton 27
Owosso Shiawassee 27
Garden City Wayne 27
Hamtramck Wayne 27
Grand Ledge Eaton 26
Troy Oakland 26
De Witt Township Clinton 25
Scio Township Washtenaw 25
Cascade Township Kent 24
Fraser Macomb 24
Alpena Township Alpena 23
Hartland Township Livingston 23
Stockbridge Township Ingham 22
Mount Pleasant Isabella 22
Gaines Township Kent 22
Harrison Township Macomb 22
Mount Clemens Macomb 22
Monroe Township Monroe 22
Grand Haven Township Ottawa 22
Cooper Township Kalamazoo 21
Oakland Township Oakland 21
Gunplain Township Allegan 20
Calumet Township Houghton 20
Meridian Township Ingham 20
Grandville Kent 20
Ludington Mason 20
Commerce Township Oakland 20
Ferndale Oakland 20
Rogers City Presque Isle 20
Melvindale Wayne 20
Niles Berrien 19
Watertown Township Clinton 19
Richfield Township Genesee 19
Hillsdale Township Hillsdale 19
Cedar Springs Kent 19
Cedar Creek Township Muskegon 19
Highland Township Oakland 19
Spring Lake Township Ottawa 19
Bay City Bay 18
Genesee Township Genesee 18
Oshtemo Township Kalamazoo 18
Kalkaska Township Kalkaska 18
Chocolay Township Marquette 18
Groveland Township Oakland 18
Three Rivers St. Joseph 18
Au Gres Arenac 17
Irving Township Barry 17
Iron Mountain Dickinson 17
Blackman Township Jackson 17
Washington Township Macomb 17
Dexter Township Washtenaw 17
Clayton Township Genesee 16
Napoleon Township Jackson 16
Tallmadge Township Ottawa 16
Sturgis St. Joseph 16
Vassar Township Tuscola 16
Superior Township Washtenaw 16
Grosse Pointe Wayne 16
Trenton Wayne 16
Bear Creek Township Emmet 15
Fenton Township Genesee 15
Belding Ionia 15
Genoa Township Livingston 15
Marquette Marquette 15
Fruitport Township Muskegon 15
Springfield Township Oakland 15
Grand Haven Ottawa 15
Thomas Township Saginaw 15
Antwerp Township Van Buren 15
Lima Township Washtenaw 15
Van Buren Township Wayne 15
Charlevoix Charlevoix 14
Davison Genesee 14
Flint Township Genesee 14
Algoma Township Kent 14
Bowne Township Kent 14
Menominee Menominee 14
Addison Township Oakland 14
Jonesfield Township Saginaw 14
Almira Township Benzie 13
Marshall Calhoun 13
Fenton Genesee 13
Flushing Genesee 13
Byron Township Kent 13
Hazel Park Oakland 13
Pleasant Ridge Oakland 13
Gibraltar Wayne 13
Grosse Ile Township Wayne 13
Alpena Alpena 12
St Johns Clinton 12
Grattan Township Kent 12
Hamburg Township Livingston 12
Handy Township Livingston 12
Forsyth Township Marquette 12
Summerfield Township Monroe 12
Park Township Ottawa 12
Zeeland Township Ottawa 12
Roscommon Township Roscommon 12
Chelsea Washtenaw 12
Ecorse Wayne 12
Huron Township Wayne 12
Benton Township Berrien 11
Victor Township Clinton 11
Davison Township Genesee 11
Ironwood Gogebic 11
Lansing Township Ingham 11
Odessa Township Ionia 11
Columbia Township Jackson 11
Lowell Kent 11
North Branch Township Lapeer 11
Tyrone Township Livingston 11
Montcalm Township Montcalm 11
Whitehall Muskegon 11
Clawson Oakland 11
Huntington Woods Oakland 11
Milford Township Oakland 11
Allendale Township Ottawa 11
Blendon Township Ottawa 11
Hudsonville Ottawa 11
Robinson Township Ottawa 11
Kimball Township St. Clair 11
Ann Arbor Township Washtenaw 11
Hastings Barry 10
Yankee Springs Township Barry 10
Boyne City Charlevoix 10
Sunfield Township Eaton 10
Aurelius Township Ingham 10
Onondaga Township Ingham 10
Alpine Township Kent 10
Cannon Township Kent 10
Raisinville Township Monroe 10
Ravenna Township Muskegon 10
Lyon Township Oakland 10
Marion Township Osceola 10
Tittabawassee Township Saginaw 10
Bloomingdale Township Van Buren 10
Riverview Wayne 10

8 comments from Bridge readers.Add mine!

  1. Rich

    I have to use a fingerprint to use MY cell phone. When I use MY credit card, I more than occasionally have to show a picture ID. When depositing money into MY account at a bank with no cash back, I always have to show a picture ID. So what is so wrong about asking everyone to show picture ID when voting on something that affects OUR future? I just read recently that someone, perhaps Mike Duggan, is setting up a program to make it very easy to get a picture ID. What concerns me more is that when my children registered to vote, they were not asked to show a passport, birth certificate, or anything to prove their citizenship. Voting is precious, and each of us should be very concerned that nothing, absolutely nothing, waters down the power of our individual votes.

    1. Susan

      I think you have the wrong cell phone, the wrong credit cards, and are using the wrong bank. My cell phone works just fine without a fingerprint. And, if given the opportunity to require one, I would turn it down. I have rarely (can’t even recall a time) been asked for ID when using my credit cards. The places where I shop do match my signature on the back of my card with my signature on my authorization. I have NEVER been asked for ID when depositing money (without cash back) into my bank account. I do my mother’s banking for her and have never been asked for ID when depositing money into her bank account.

      I am on a first name basis with my county clerk, with my township clerk, and with many of my election site volunteers. I would be offended to be asked for a photo ID; but I vote absentee, so that takes care of that.

      I’ll bet your children were asked for their Michigan driver’s license in order to register to vote. When applying for a driver’s license, a Social Security card must be shown (or letter of ineligibility). Also, a birth certificate or passport is required, thus taking care of proof of citizenship.

  2. chester marx

    I’ve voted for a long time. I go in to my precinct, fill out a form…and give my signature, and agree that I’m a US citizen, and will go to the pokey if I fib. The next clerk goes to a list and checks off my name. Then I fill out my secret ballot, behind a curtain, and go on to the tabulating machine. The tabulating machine has been here for ages and probably is where our efforts should go. Making it harder to vote is a silencing of the electorate. Our leaders in Lansing should be solving problems, not making our lives harder.

  3. Kevin Grand

    When about 50% of the votes cannot be tabulated due to “irregularities” in places like Detroit, safeguards like voter ID can only improve integrity of the overall voting process.

  4. Fred Stonehouse

    Voting is our most precious right as American citizens. We should be required to show a picture ID of course.

  5. ArtZ

    Grinding water and wordsmithing result opinion yup one can make it a problem. Be more interested in just who or whom actually lacked the identity. First timers, homeless and those opposed to voter ID. I am very sceptical any “study”

  6. Dave T

    I’m sure the states are smart enough to solve this problem without refusing potentially legal voters. The elderly, non drivers, handicapped persons, etc. should have a simple alternative picture ID card. A picture Verification card from the county or state would solve illegal voting anywhere.

    As a precinct worker, we have voters who vote every year refusing to show a picture ID. They sign an affidavit. These are later checked at city hall and verified. Done.

  7. C Lippert

    Michigan Republicans have a goal to make it harder for Democrats to vote. This one works for them because it targets lower income populations.

Leave your comment...

Your email address will not be published.

Invest in non-partisan journalism.

Donate to The Center for Michigan. Find out why.