Andrew Goodman was 20 years old when he traveled to Mississippi in 1964 as a part of the Freedom Summer. His mission was to ensure suffrage for all Americans. On Goodman’s first day in Mississippi, members of the Ku Klux Klan murdered him, along with fellow activists Michael Schwerner and James Chaney, to stop them from registering African-American voters. Today, 11 ambassadors around the country work for the Andrew Goodman Foundation to share the true significance of the right to vote with others and honor his memory in doing so.
As one of these ambassadors, I want to encourage Michigan students to realize how lucky they are to have the chance to exercise this right on Tuesday. I understand students’ frustrations with the repetitive television advertisements and endless mailers, but students must consider the serious issues at stake in this election. Issues important to students include the cost of a college education, the economy, LGBT rights, health care, reproductive rights and the environment — to name just a few. We must make our voices heard and cast our votes on Tuesday.
Young people often wonder why candidates don’t spend as much time addressing issues like student loans as they do addressing issues like Medicare. The simple answer is that politicians pay attention to voting patterns and, according to the Huffington Post, 48.5 percent of millennial voters 18 to 24 years old showed up at the polls. By contrast, 67 percent of those 30 and older voted, and senior citizens had the highest voter turnout of any of the age groups.
This year politicians have sought partisan advantages by making it harder by raising registration barriers. Voter identification requirements are one example. Fortunately, many of these laws are being overturned in the courts, but still create confusion among voters that can only be overcome through education.
We must not let these attempts to hinder democracy keep us from voting. Rather, we must show those who try to silence or ignore us that we are a strong voice. Each and every one of us has a duty to go out and vote Tuesday.
I urge students to make a plan. The polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. Decide exactly when you’re going, and I strongly recommend filling out a sample ballot beforehand. Know the candidates, what they stand for and how they’ll represent you. Learn about the initiatives and the judges. This is your future — make sure you’re in control of it.
Voter information can be found at http://publius.org. See your ballot, know the issues.
A Michigan voter needs proper identification to vote. Any the of following will suffice: Michigan driver’s license or state ID card, a current driver’s license from another state, Federal or state government-issued photo ID, U.S. Passport, Military photo ID, tribal photo ID or Mcard.
Michigan anticipates that not all voters will have an ID. Any voter who forgets his or her ID or does not have an acceptable form of ID may sign an affidavit affirming that he or she is the voter — simply request an affidavit from a poll worker. Avoid filling out a provisional ballot at all costs.
With so many voting places, it’s inevitable that not all poll workers will understand the law. If a poll worker tells you that you cannot vote because you forgot your ID or that your out-of-state or student ID is invalid, insist on casting a non-provisional ballot.
Voting on Election Day
Election Day is Nov. 6. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Find your polling location at https://webapps.sos.state.mi.us/mivote/.
For more information about voting in Michigan or another state, check out the student voter guides available through the Campus Vote Project website.
Katja Edelman is an LSA sophomore. This column was written with support from the Andrew Goodman Foundation and the Campus Vote Project.