MSU joins Big Ten Voting Challenge
MSU is one of the most civically engaged universities, according to ASMSU President Lorenzo Santavicca.
But unfortunately, students just don’t get out and register to vote.
Common barriers to student voting include a lack of awareness on how to get registered and the fact that people aren’t automatically registered to vote when they turn 18, Santavicca said.
In an effort to increase student voter registration, MSU has joined the Big Ten Voting Challenge.
According to the website, the challenge is a “movement to increase civic engagement in the Big Ten on three fronts" that will "bring students into the political process we can help ensure that our voices are better heard.”
Santavicca said the campaign came at a crucial time as it is not a national election year.
“I think for Michigan State it was an opportunity for us to take a lead and show that we are a committed university in student leadership to make sure that any election matters,” he said.
Santavicca recalls a conversation with President Lou Anna K. Simon at the beginning of the Summer 2017 semester regarding student voters.
“We knew that in our own vicinity of East Lansing that we have a number of reasons for people to get involved with local politics,” he said. “We have valid initiatives that are going to affect our community.”
But the student body president doesn’t feel as if MSU students get much, if any, support from the city.
“Specific to Michigan State, I think one of the challenges is that … there’s not always a support there from our city leadership to make sure that students are registered to vote so I think the attention around a student candidate for city council this year is exciting for that reason that students are interested in registering,” he said.
Previously, ASMSU worked with the East Lansing City Clerk Marie Wicks and MSUvote to increase student voter turnout.
Thus far in the challenge, MSU has reported 1099 new registrations.