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Hey. My name is Caden and I'm from the Chicagoland area.  I'm currently going into my 3rd year at NMU.  I'm a multimedia production major with a double minor in journalism and criminal justice. For as...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

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Voting matters

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With new voting laws in the state of Michigan, casting a ballot has become more accessible, particularly for younger voters. And with the city election just around the corner, it’s important to understand these changes.   

The American Association of University Women–Marquette Branch (AAUW) will host “Voting Matters” at 7 p.m. on Oct. 10 at the Marquette Federated Women’s Clubhouse. Marquette Deputy City Clerk Kyle Whitney will discuss the election process, changes to voting laws and how people can get involved in lending a hand on Election Day. 

AAUW Publicity Chairperson Jackie Stark organized this event to help people understand the recent changes in Michigan’s voting laws. Her husband Whitney is “well-versed” in the election process and people will become more educated on voter rights, Stark said. 

“I think it’s especially important for young people to know about these things because historically they just don’t vote in the numbers that older people do. I don’t know why that is, but I know young people have a voice and what they say matters,” Stark said. 

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The November 2018 ballot included Proposal Three and made considerable constitutional changes to voter right laws, Whitney said. People now have the right to vote straight ticket and can register 15 days prior to the election, whereas the cutoff used to be 30 days, Whitney said. 

The burden of proof to register is higher and people have to prove residency at their local clerk’s office, Whitney explained, adding, absentee voting is also another aspect to the election process that has been revamped. Beforehand, voters wanting to request an absentee ballot were required to provide a legitimate reason. Now, people don’t need to provide such requirements; they can simply request for an absentee application and the city clerk’s office will mail it out, Whitney said. 

“It’s important for people to know about some of the changes. This is going to help people get involved in their government a little more easily,” Whitney said. “We get a lot of people two weeks before in the past and want to register and were a little miffed that under state law they wouldn’t have been able to vote previously. It eliminates some of those issues and tries to make it a little simpler for people.” 

The AAUW is promotes women and girls in education and other areas, and it puts on programs that are informational, of community interest and educational, Stark said. Understanding the voting process is integral and one of the most important things an American citizen can do, Stark noted. 

“I think when people talk about their pride of country and America’s the greatest country in the world and people have died for this way of life, voting, for me, is what that means,” Stark said. “It’s why the country was founded. We wanted to be represented in our government and for people that feel like they’re not represented, go vote. Go tell them.” 

Stark, who has served as an election worker, said elections also present the opportunity for community service and she’ll give a talk on working the ballots before Whitney’s presentation. 

People are overall excited on Election Day, and this is a way to make a difference by serving their community or country and it’s just one day, Stark said. 

Election workers go through a training process before and there are always experienced people at the polling places who can answer any questions you have on the job, Stark added. 

“The feeling that you get when you go into the booth and actually cast your ballot and you go put that thing into the machine, that’s the feeling you have for the entire day,” Stark said. “It’s a really good experience, you get to meet a lot of different people. You get to help people vote. There’s not a whole lot of things cooler than that.” 

The event is free to members and non-members of AAUW, and the Marquette Federated Women’s Clubhouse is located at 4227, 104 W. Ridge St. A short Q&A session will follow the presentation. 

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