Over 100 students register to vote


Ellen Lindblom

With midterm elections coming in just 47 days, ASNMU and The Michigan Secretary of State (SOS) partnered to bring the SOS Mobile Office to NMU on Wednesday, Sept. 19, to register students to vote.

“One of my four main agenda items is student voice and student voting rights. So as soon as they let me know about it, ASNMU has been spearheading it. We are expecting much better turnout this time around,” ASNMU President Cody Mayer said.

Mayer has been spearheading many different initiatives to help make it easier for students to vote, including trying to get a polling place on campus and requiring excused absences from class on Election Day.
“Last year I tried to get some voting legislation through the academic senate. I was actually trying to get an academic holiday for election day,” Mayer said.

Although that didn’t pass, Mayer said he has still been fighting for students access to the polls, especially Native American students.

“Typically a lot of tribes don’t have absentee ballots, and if they need to drive home to go vote in their tribal elections, they should be excused and should be allowed to do so,” Mayer said.

Freshman elementary education major, Megan Syrjala, took advantage of the Mobile Office, and only waited in line about five minutes.

“It was a lot easier than I thought it was going to be,” Syrjala said.

A lot of Syrjala friends have been getting registered and are planning to vote this November, she said.
In previous years, the Mobile SOS office has visited NMU, but turnout was dismal, said Michigan Voter Outreach Director, Kristi Dougan.

“It has been a great day at Northern Michigan. We have far outpaced your voter registrations from 2016. I think we’re definitely going to break 100 today,” Dougan said.

A few important things to know about registering to vote is that it changes your legal address—the address on your driver’s license, Dougan said. Students should be prepared to make those changes or to register at their home address.

In Michigan, first-time voters must vote in person, or request their absentee ballot in person. If someone registered at an address outside of Marquette, it is best to make plans now for how you are going to vote, Dougan said.

“Since the secretary of state is a statewide agency, we are able to register anyone in the state of Michigan. If you missed us on Wednesday, you can come to the new SOS branch and register to vote,” Dougan said.

Sample ballots will be available on the SOS website as election day gets closer, so you can see your ballot ahead of time and do your research as necessary, Dougan said.

Students can check their registration at any time at michigan.gov/vote