Thursday, February 2, 2023

MSU students take advantage of same-day registration, voting

November 8, 2022
MSU community waits in line to vote on Election Day at Brody Hall on Nov. 8, 2022.
MSU community waits in line to vote on Election Day at Brody Hall on Nov. 8, 2022. —
Photo by Audrey Richardson | The State News

As election day moves forward, Michigan State students fill Brody Square to register and reregister to vote on campus. On-campus polling locations saw a steady stream of voters throughout the early afternoon.

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced that college students could register to vote on their college campuses, using their student housing addresses, in 2019. Hundreds of MSU students have taken advantage of this opportunity and are voting at one of four on-campus polling locations.

Sophomore Emma Mehan voted for the August primaries in her hometown and joined the line in Brody to reregister with her temporary address to be able to vote on campus today. She said she was confused at first and went to vote at IM West before finding out she had to reregister but is still happy she is able to vote. 

“I’m really excited,” Mehan said. “I’ve always thought it was a really good thing to do. ... Voting, in general, is just a really good way to make your voice heard.”

As a first-time voter, freshman Charles Van Vallis originally registered online in his hometown and also reregistered to vote on campus. He said he was nervous but that, so far, the process was running smoothly.

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MSU computer science professor and Precinct 1 chairperson Joshua Nahum described the day so far as “uneventful,” with only 45 voters having voted by noon. Nahum said the precinct is well-staffed with no line and things are progressing well. 

Joining the polling staff at Brody was Keith Slotkin, whose sister Elissa is on the ballot for Michigan’s 7th district representative. Slotkin said while the morning was slow, lines began picking up around 11 a.m. 

“A lot of people reregistering to vote day-of, which is amazing that they’re able to do that,” Slotkin said. “We really appreciate the Secretary of State allowing students to do that.”

Slotkin said for a midterm election, with no presidential candidates to motivate voters, there is a lot of excitement and turnout. He said about 75% of the line was female, which he said was “amazing to see.” Slotkin noted an increased effort this year to get MSU students involved compared to previous elections. 

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Inside IM East, Precinct 13 and 14 chairperson Beverly Stephens said everything is running well with working equipment and a full staff. Stephens, who has worked at the polls since 2010, said they have only had to call City Hall for clarification a few times. She said the turnout is pretty good for an on-campus location. 

“For an on-campus precinct, it’s difficult because there are so many variations of I live here, I live there, I don’t live there anymore, that was three addresses ago,” Stephens said. “So, the new laws and the onsite registration and the flexibility we have to direct people has made today a lot better and a lot smoother, allowing a lot more people to vote.”

Students can register and vote at any time before 8 p.m. tonight. Registration is available at either Brody Hall or the City of East Lansing Clerk. Absentee ballots can also be turned in up until 8 p.m. tonight. 

“As long as they get here before 8 p.m., they will be allowed to vote,” Nahum said. “Even if there’s a queue, stay in line, you will be allowed to vote as long as you’re here before eight.”

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