The 2016 presidential election will be the first time many MSU students will exercise their right to vote. For those who have not yet registered, the deadline to is Tuesday, Oct 11 to vote in the general election.
“The application process literally takes two minutes, assuming you know the last four digits of your Social Security Number, your birth and your driver’s licence number if applicable,” Ingham County clerk Barb Byrum said.
These three items, in addition to a voting address, are all that is required to register. Byrum said anyone who will be 18 years of age by election day may register with a volunteer who has been deputized or with their municipal clerk, who for most students will be East Lansing city clerk Marie Wicks.
Breaking down the process -
1. Be aware of the Oct. 11 registration deadline
2. Gather the following information: The last four digits of your social security number, your birthday and driver's licence number
3. Register with a deputized volunteer or a municipal clerk. East Lansing's municipal clerk is Marie Wicks. Wicks' office is located at East Lansing City Hall, 410 Abbott Road, Room 100, East Lansing, Mich. City Hall is open 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. on weekdays and closed on weekdays.
Students may also mail in their application, but whether registering in East Lansing or at home, Byrum recommends registering in person to allow the option to vote absentee.
“I would encourage anyone registering to vote to register in person and show photo ID,” Byrum said. “If they do not show photo ID to a deputy or to the clerk, they will be unable to vote by absentee ballot, and rather will be required to vote in person for their first voting experience on election day.”
An absentee ballot allows a voter to fill an application in advance, then mailing or turning it in to their municipal clerk under the pretense that they will be unable to vote in person on election day. This option may be useful to students with hectic schedules.
To request an absentee ballot, a request form must be filled and signed, then turned in to your municipal clerk in person or via mail or email. For those wishing to vote absentee, Byrum said she recommends completing the process sooner rather than later, as it takes about a week for an absentee ballot to return to a clerk.
“Municipal clerks will continue to receive absentee ballot requests up until the Saturday before the election,” Byrum said. “However, by waiting that long, it is impossible for that individual to be mailed a ballot and then to, in turn, return mail it back.”
Whether with a clerk, volunteer or by mail, students must fill out a paper application, as Michigan does not have online voter registration. However, students who are already registered outside of East Lansing may update their address online if they wish to vote in East Lansing in the election. Students may also track their registration online to ensure they’ve been successfully registered.
“If someone’s registered to vote, say, in Marquette… they must do one of two things: they could update their address to reflect what they consider their more permanent address, which would be their dorm room perhaps,” Byrum said. “Or, they could keep that registration the same and request an absentee ballot from that Marquette city clerk.”
Wicks could not be reached for comment prior to publication.