From the Daily: Be sure to vote, and vote smart

Monday, November 7, 2016 - 10:21pm

A month ago, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton held an 11-point lead over Donald Trump. As of Monday night, that had dwindled to a 3-point lead. Michigan hasn’t gone red since 1988, but in the last three days, President Barack Obama and presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have all targeted Michigan voters. Monday, Obama campaigned for Clinton at Ray L. Fisher Stadium taking a personal approach: He made it clear that not voting or voting in support of Trump would be a personal insult to him and reverse the eight years of work his administration has done. Michigan's status as one of the only states that doesn’t have early voting and that historically has low turnout at the polls are two of many reasons why candidates are targeting our state, and are the exact reasons why it is so important to vote today. In particular, millennials have been criticized in the past for not showing up to the polls, so this is our call to students: Vote today and make the headlines “Millennials defeat Trump.”

Given these historical statistics, and given that Trump has been polling higher in Michigan leading up to Election Day, it’s vitally important for students to have a strong presence at the polls. There are a lot of resources for students on campus that make it easier to vote: ridesharing services such as Zipcar, Lyft and Uber are all working to get the vote out. For example, Zipcar is making 7,000 cars free nationwide between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Election Day. Lyft and Uber also have certain Election Day discounts to varying degrees, which students should keep in mind if physically getting to the polls is a problem financially or logistically. On campus, students themselves are mobilizing by hosting watch parties, holding rallies, making posts on social media and offering rides to polling locations. Some professors have given passes to students who have demonstrated they will use class time to go vote, which is commendable.

Each student’s vote has a wide-ranging impact, from the international political arena to our campus community here in Ann Arbor. In the past weeks, the University community has faced racist incidents that have injured our already-poor campus climate. Because of Trump's dangerous rhetoric, a vote against Trump is a vote to stop this type of hatred on campus. Though there has been a shift among student voting for Clinton instead of third parties or alternative write-in candidates, according to a Michigan Daily polling data, it is important to keep in mind that unless a candidate has officially registered to be a write-in candidate, a vote for that candidate will not count.

It’s also important to know your rights as a voter. You have a right to vote in private, free from intimidation or interference. If you think your rights are being violated, notify a poll monitor at your location of voting. These people should be easily identifiable and will know what to do in case of suspected illegal activity. You can also file a civil rights complaint to the Department of Justice by calling the Civil Rights Division at (800) 253-3931 to reach the Discrimination Complaint number or (202) 307-2767 to reach the Voting Section of the Department of Jusice. 

Be sure to vote, and vote smart. The Michigan Daily endorses the following:

Hillary Clinton, President of the United States

Chuck Warpehoski, City Councilmember for the 5th Ward

Laurence Deitch and Denis Ilitch, University Regents

Ballot proposal to extend term lengths for Ann Arbor Mayor and City Councilmembers