Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Voters register in record numbers

November 1, 2000

There are 116,000 more registered voters in Michigan since the August primaries, state officials say.

As of now, 6,859,332 Michigan residents are registered to vote in the Nov. 7 presidential election, said Julie Pierce, spokeswoman for the secretary of state. The number is higher than those registered to vote in the 1996 presidential election.

“The numbers are showing more registered voters in Michigan’s history, but not the highest percentage of voters,” Pierce said. “This year, 93.2 percent of (Michigan) voters are eligible to vote, but that doesn’t mean they will all go to the polls.”

Pierce said only 50 to 70 percent of registered voters actually exercise their right to vote.

“Those registered voters who don’t exercise their right to vote choose not to because of random reasons,” Pierce said. “Some may forget, get too busy or think their vote is not important.”

East Lansing Clerk Susan Donnell said the city doesn’t know how many students are registered yet, but it hopes to have those numbers before the election. About 29,000 East Lansing residents are registered to vote, she said.

The law requires voters to vote at the location on their voter registration card, which must match the address of their driver’s license or identification card. Donnell said this is the leading reason many students will not register to vote.

“We have been here until 10:30 p.m. some nights changing voter registration cards for students,” Donnell said. “There has been a tremendous amount of students wanting to change their address so they can be able to vote.”

Lindsay Holdsworth, a merchandising management junior, said she didn’t register to vote because she didn’t want to change the address on her license to her local address.

“It is such a hassle to change the address on your license just to vote here,” she said. “I don’t have the time to drive all the way back to Traverse City just to vote.”

Even though some students think it may be a hassle to register, Ed Sarpolus, vice president of EPIC/MRA, a Lansing-based polling firm, said he thinks the system has become easier to access. He said it may be more difficult for college students, but youths are being targeted to vote.

“Since there has been a mini baby boom and there are so many youths now, presidential candidates are tapping into that market to earn the vote of the younger people,” Sarpolus said. “Candidates are reaching through resources like MTV, churches and visiting college campuses. If youths feel like they are important, they are going to be inspired to vote.”

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