Thursday, July 2, 2020

On-campus voter turnout up, registration down from 2012

November 20, 2016

After a deeply divisive presidential election cycle, the country has a new President-elect, Donald Trump. The effort to put him or Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in the White House resulted in high voter turnout on MSU’s campus.

According to Ingham County’s election results, voter turnout in precincts on MSU’s campus was 72 percent, compared to all of East Lansing at 66.9 percent. This turnout is significantly higher than the 2012 election, when turnout on MSU’s campus was 48.8 percent.

On-Campus Precincts Off-Campus Precincts
2012 Registered Voters 9440 19621
2012 Voter Turnout 4610 12980
2016 Registered Voters 6773 20821
2016 Voter Turnout 4881 13582

East Lansing City Clerk Marie Wicks agreed that voter turnout was high in the city.

“The turnout was fantastic city-wide,” Wicks said. “Our voter turnout in East Lansing tends to be pretty good anyways. We’re a very well-educated, very activist community, so it doesn’t surprise me that we had a very good turnout.”

High turnout could be because of the number of new registered voters. Wicks said the city registered about 7,500 new voters, with approximately 6,000 of those being on-campus students.

Wicks said it was a positive sign that so many students registered and turned out to vote.

“The students were phenomenal,” she said. “Lots and lots of first time voters. ... So if you think about the fact that many, if not most, were first-time voters, the fact that they got registered and and they turned out in such high numbers really just speaks highly of the students and how engaged they were in the election.”

Wicks said despite long lines on Election Day, voters were patient. She said in off-campus precincts with high numbers of student voters, other citizens were polite and happy to see their turnout.

“I think everybody, especially non-students, were really happy to see students or student-aged people out voting," Wicks said. "I certainly am because we put a lot of work into getting those 7,500 registrations logged in. I think we reaped the benefit of that.”

Despite active student involvement, voter registration in the city overall is down from 2012. There was a 5 percent decrease in registration, from 29,061 in 2012 to 27,594 in 2016.

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