ASMSU hosting voter registration competition among student groups
The Associated Students of Michigan State University's, or ASMSU's, voter registration competition will allow college-affiliated registered student organizations, or RSOs, the Council of Racial and Ethnic Students, or CORES, and the Council of Progressive Students, COPS, groups to compete for $500.
Starting Oct. 2, certain college-affiliated groups on campus will begin registering students to vote. Whichever group registers the most students before Oct. 9 will win $500 from ASMSU.
“At its face, 500 might not seem like a lot,” Alex Noffsinger, vice president of governmental affairs at ASMSU, said. “But you can put on one or two pretty big events with events with that money, and it can help you attract a lot of members that you might not have yet.”
Noffsinger has been working with voter registration initiatives trying to come up with “innovative ways” of getting students to register to vote.
“It’s one thing to be tabling or to be walking around in between class periods and trying to get students that way,” Noffsinger said. “But we’ve trying to figure out ways of not only our organization and other organizations registering other students, but trying to engage the student body in voter (registration) and get them civically engaged.”
Allowing students to register other students allows everyone to get more involved in politics and recruits more students than just setting up tables on campus.
“In doing so, in theory, they’re all learning how to participate in the democratic process and engage one another,” Noffsinger said. “So instead of it just being a top-down approach, it’s more bottom-up.”
The competition is limited to college-affiliated groups, Noffsinger said. This is because ASMSU wants to give back to the academic community.
“Not that I have anything against organizations like ski club or running club or some of those ones,” Noffsinger said. “But generally, we just wanted to make sure we were giving back to more academically-oriented organizations.”
The original idea of the competition was to have colleges compete to get the most students registered, but it was decided that method wouldn’t reach as many students.
“The broad area was that it was supposed to be a competition among the colleges,” Noffsinger said. “So it’d be like Comm. Arts against Social Science, but there was really no good way of engaging that big of an organization. How do you get volunteers from the College of Social Science?”
ASMSU President Lorenzo Santavicca said ASMSU will actively try to recruit organizations and keep them involved in the competition through social media and email.
“We’re going to in contact with the student organizations that we can, particularly social science and James Madison and any organization that comes to us for funding,” Santavicca said. “We have their contact information and we’ll put it out to them.”
The goal of the week-long competition is to get at least 500 students registered to vote.
“That would be one registration for every dollar,” Noffsinger said. “I think that’s a pretty smart investment. So if you only have 10 organizations involved and they only each register 50 people and somehow they all tied. 50 people’s not that much for one organization to register, so that’s kind of how we’re breaking it down right now.”
Organizations interested in competing can attend a meeting at 3 p.m. on Sept. 30 at 328 Student Services, where they will learn how to register students to vote.