Landlords might have to provide tenants with voter registration forms if a new ordinance meant to increase off-campus student registration is passed by the East Lansing City Council.
The ordinance would amend the current tenant-landlord lease agreement and require landlords provide tenants with voter-registration information upon moving in, a policy some landlords criticized.
Mayor Pro Tem Nathan Triplett, who proposed the ordinance during City Council’s Jan. 15 meeting, said the proposal is meant to make it as easy as possible for students to register and to keep voter registration up-to-date.
“One of the most likely groups of East Lansing residents to benefit from this ordinance is Michigan State students,” he said.
ASMSU, MSU’s undergraduate student government, voted to support the measure during its last meeting.
Communication junior Marie Hallberg, who lives in one of DTN Management’s properties, said the proposed ordinance would be helpful for students who might not know how to register to vote.
“It could be beneficial for students for the information to be given to them (by the landlords,)” she said. “If it’s not given to them then, some students may not look into it.”
But some landlords expressed concern that City Council is overstepping its bounds with the proposal.
Matt Hagan, an agent with Hagan Realty, Inc., 927 E. Grand River Ave., said there are plenty of other places for people to get voter registration forms — such as the Secretary of State office at 3315 E. Michigan Ave., in Lansing — and doesn’t want to be burdened with paying a fine for noncompliance.
“If you start putting things on us, where does it stop?” he said. “I don’t think it’s our position to do that.”
Hagan clarified that he’s willing to give out information about registration when students come to pick up keys, or on the leasing website.
“I don’t mind doing it,” he said. “I just don’t want to be required to do it.”
Triplett said the purpose is not to hand out more fines or citations but “to get people to comply with a very reasonable requirement.”
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