ASMSU voter registration drive prepares for East Lansing elections
At the last Associated Students of Michigan State University, or ASMSU, General Assembly meeting, it was announced that the group would continue its efforts to promote voter registration across campus.
In order to be able to vote in the November East Lansing City Council election, students must be registered to vote by Oct. 10. ASMSU’s voter registration initiative – led by Vice President of Governmental Affairs Tyler VanHuyse – aims to encourage political awareness across the student body.
VanHuyse hopes to have voter registration available at as many ASMSU events as possible.
“I don’t want to say all in the sense that we may miss one or two, but so far we’ve been very consistent in being at every event that ASMSU has been at,” VanHuyse said. “We did major efforts at Sparticipation, we’ve been doing major efforts at Greener Together meetings and so forth, Freshman Class Council meetings, so internally we’re doing a lot with voter registration, and externally as well.”
Eli Pales is ASMSU's community liaison. He came up with one of the voter registration techniques used by the organization.
“Originally, I wanted RAs to register their residents to vote," Pales said. "We couldn’t necessarily get that done, but we worked a lot with housing to try to come up with the best way to get students registered as possible in a way that protects people’s privacy, in a way that would be effective. Ultimately, we came up with idea that we would try a trial run and send out voter registration forms in return envelopes to make it as easy as possible to be registered to vote here in Michigan.”
VanHuyse believes the initiative is multifaceted, and he wants to help students understand why voting is important.
“I would say not only are we trying to prompt students to go vote by hosting such things as a city council forum and other informational sessions, and having candidates during public agenda items, allowing candidates to come and speak, but we’re also registering people to vote in person, through mail and so forth,” VanHuyse said. “We help the students to vote and register to vote, but we also encourage them through informational materials and educational materials about the situation at hand.”
VanHuyse believes students who are not from East Lansing should still vote in the city's elections. He says students who are already registered to vote elsewhere can easily register in East Lansing by filling out the voter registration form again.
“It is absolutely worth voting in East Lansing," VanHuyse said. "I will say currently there is a ballot initiative –the income tax ballot initiative – and that will affect students. Whether you’re for or against, it’s absolutely pivotal that they have their voice heard in their local community where they live for a substantial amount of the year."
In all, VanHuyse is confident in the voter registration initiative’s purpose.
“Students have a lot of opportunities, as I said before, to get involved with the political process," he said. "Not only are we helping students register to vote, but we’re helping them learn about the issues at hand.”