Voting and registration — The basics

A guide for those planning to register to vote in this upcoming election.
Joleigh Martinez/NW
Joleigh Martinez/NW
Joleigh Martinez/NW

“It is important we exercise our voice by using our vote. We are the future, it is key that we use the voice and power we have,” said Kate Gunville, founder and president of NMU’s Northern Votes. Her organization aims to “provide students with the tools needed to be civically engaged, through education, mobilization and institutional efforts,” and is one of many resources that can be utilized as election day is fast approaching.

Voting can often be seen as a significant milestone when it comes to maturing and finding independence as college students. As adults in higher education, students can often be expected to become involved and participating citizens interested in the common good as they are given the opportunity to learn. Voting is widely known as a civic responsibility,  In order to vote, those who are eligible must be taken through multiple steps before casting their ballot, which some can find confusing.

A well-received resource that many voters use is the online platform of The Michigan Department of State. Their website offers detailed information regarding voting information, and is constantly updated with upcoming dates, along with other valuable, personalized instructions. At NMU, resources like those officiating Northern Votes and Lydia M. Olson online library services can offer ways to become more familiar with the voting process.

According to Gunville, there are plenty of ways to access the ballot, and it is up to the student to decide which method suits them best. The upcoming election is Nov. 7, however, which is within the next 14 days and requires a few extra steps. Although registering online is no longer an advisable option, there are many other options to choose from.

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A person eligible to vote must be 18, a Michigan resident, and a United States citizen. The Michigan Department of State recommends citizens to register early if possible, but the deadline is at 8:00 p.m. on election day. To do so successfully, one must locate their township or city’s clerk office, or the nearest Secretary of State office. There, anyone eligible can register and vote in person.

The City of Marquette Clerk office is found on  300 W. Baraga Ave, which is near NMU’s campus. To register, proof of residency must be provided; this can be in the form of a driver’s license, bank statement, and more. Students can rightfully use their dorm address when registering, however they should aim to use the address matching their driver’s license. After the application is processed, a voter registration card will be provided. This withholds information including where to cast a vote. From there, voters are provided the opportunity to engage with their community.

“Elected officials are working on behalf of the people, when you vote you are voicing your opinions,” Gunville said. “Whether we vote or not, the outcome of elections will have an impact on our lives, it is important for individuals to vote to have their interests represented.  Decisions made today will have impacts for the rest of our lives, we have the power within our vote to influence the present moment and the future.”

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