How to vote and why it matters

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Sam Rush/NW

Jesse Wiederhold

A myth – voting is hard and it doesn’t matter. Students sometimes have the mentality that their vote won’t count, or that it would not be worth the effort to register/vote absentee. Well, this simply is not true. 

Voting has never been easier. In fact, NMU students can actually register to vote or obtain absentee ballots right from their campus, the city of Marquette or even on their computer.

If a student is from a different city than Marquette or even another state – it doesn’t matter. Students, allowed by Michigan law, have the ability to alter or update their voter registration status right here in Marquette.

The first step is to develop a plan to vote and obtain an absentee ballot. This can be done by contacting the hometown, or at the Marquette City Clerk’s office located at 300 W Baraga Ave. The City Clerk’s office will soon be opening a satellite location on Northern’s campus for added convenience.

“If they want to short circuit and make the process simpler, they can simply register here with the city of Marquette, vote from their campus, and hand-carry their absentee ballots to the local city of Marquette Clerk’s office across from the St. Peters cathedral,” said Robert Anderson, a former adjunct professor at NMU and certified Elder Law attorney-emeritus.

Secondly, what to do with the ballot is important. If someone is voting early, they can mail it back to their respective hometown. However, this is risky, as the mail will be overloaded during the election times.

“Michigan college students can register to vote or change their voter registration online for the first time. They can do that by going to www.michigan.gov/vote. It’s a very simple website,” said Anderson. He also included that non-Michigan residents can still download voter registration forms from this website. They can even email the form to the Marquette clerk.

“A better way to do that is drop it off at the drop-off box at the city clerk’s office,” said Anderson. Again, that address is 300 W Baraga Ave.

He explained that people don’t have to wait until Nov. 3. They can do “one-stop-shopping,” according to Anderson. This means it is possible to get the forms and vote/drop them off in one visit. Students can do this any time they wish after Sept. 24.

“After Oct. 20, and up until Nov. 3, NMU students can still register to vote, but they have to do it in person at the clerk’s office,” said Anderson. “They have to have proof of residency at their campus address. To get proof of residency, they have to go to the registrar of NMU,” he added. The registrar’s office is located in the middle of Hedgecock. 

With how simple the registration process is, everyone should be able to complete it easily if they choose.

“They should have a website box [too] where [students] can download proof that they live at a campus address. Armed with that proof, they can make an appointment with the city clerk of Marquette. That phone number is (906) 225-8667,” explained Anderson.

Lastly, let it be known that 18-20-year-olds have not always had the right to vote. For many, this may actually be their first opportunity to vote for a president in an election.

“At the beginning of the Vietnam War, the voting age was 21. Young Americans aged 18-20 who were old enough to be drafted, forced to fight in a war, many of them came back maimed or unfortunately killed, could not vote for the leaders in Washington who actually sent them,” explained Anderson.

It was not until July 1, 1971 when the US ratified the 26 amendment. This lowered the national voting age requirement to 18, according to Anderson.

“The point is, the youth of today should not take their right to vote for granted, they should take it seriously. Young people should remember the sacrifice of other young people in the 1970s who lost their lives in a senseless conflict,” stated Anderson.