By Taylor Whittington
On Tuesday, November 6th, you get the chance to participate in an opportunity to make your voice heard in a way that many of you may never have been able to be heard before. I know you are busy with your classes, exams, and social lives and that registering to vote may not be the first item on your to-do-list when you first arrive on campus. However, we live in a pretty interesting era where a lot of legislation is going to affect your not just your generation, but YOU directly, and maybe even your future Grand-kid’s generation; and besides, exercising your right to vote is not something you want to miss out on!
You need to know that you can’t just walk up to the polls on Election Tuesday and vote. You have to be registered first! (And if this is your first time voting, Michigan laws have made a few hoops to jump through.)
If you are unsure about whether or not you are a registered voter in Michigan, go to this website: https://webapps.sos.state.mi.us/MVIC/votersearch.aspx. You just have to type in your first and last name, your date of birth, and your zip code, or you input your driver’s license number and date of birth. If you are a registered voter, the webpage will show when the next primary and general election(s) will take place. It will also show you which precinct you are in as well as where the closest voting poll to you is located. If you are not a registered voter, you can click the tab found on the same website, “Registering to vote,” and you can fill out an application. Here are some tips to keep in mind as a registered voter:
- Make sure to register at least 30 days before the election is set to take place!
- If you are a first time voter, you must vote in person (there are some exceptions to this, of course). However, the next election cycle, you can vote via an absentee ballot
- Be sure the address on your license aligns with the address you use for voter registration as it is Michigan law
- Here is the link to the Personal Identification Card Address Form & Instructions: https://www.michigan.gov/documents/MIVoterRegistration_97046_7.pdf
- If it is not your first time voting in an election, you are able to cast your vote via an absentee ballot. Here’s what the ballot will look like, and you can use this web page to find the address of the clerk you send your ballot to.
- Be sure to do your research before you hit the polls! Not sure who the candidates are for this year’s elections? Click here to check out an official list.
- A cool thing about being a student is that MSU sets up polling locations on campus, i.e. the Union & IM West, so it is easier for students to be able to vote. Take advantage of this! If you live off-campus, there are also voting polls nearby so you will not have to travel far either!
Now that you’re an expert voter, get out there and exercise your right to vote!
Taylor Whittington was a student employee (Professional Enrichment Assistant) in the MSU Alumni Association and just graduated in May 2018 from Michigan State University with a Bachelor’s in Social Relations & Policy/Bioethics/Science, Technology, Environment & Public Policy from James Madison College. She is currently working on a Master’s in Public Health at that school in Ann Arbor.